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Chinas September petchem imports slow as economy cools down

November 01/2010

(ICIS) -- Chinas imports of most petrochemical products in September registered annual declines due to the high base last year and a slight moderation in overall economic activities, analysts said on Monday.


Based on data from China Customs, China imported 8% less of ethylene at 74,924 tonnes compared to the same period last year, while imports of propylene and butadiene recorded significant declines of 33% to 81,455 tonnes and 61% to 7,587 tonnes, respectively.


Massive new capacity additions from state-owned petrochemical giant Sinopec in Tianjin and Zhenhai had helped bring down Chinas olefins import requirements this year, said Wang Qiang, an analyst from Xiang Cai Securities.


The crackers in these two locations that started up this year have capacities of 1m tonnes/year each and were expected to boost supply of olefin derivatives such as polyethylene and polypropylene in the domestic market, Wang said.


Meanwhile, the recent spike in chemical values, on the back of crude price gains, also deterred buyers from procuring materials through imports last month, analysts said.


The case was different for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which was priced lower when imported given that the domestic market was in short supply, analysts said, citing power restrictions at selected provinces that cut production at a number of China's petrochemical plants.


Chinas imports of PVC in September increased 35% year on year to 142,376 tonnes, based on official data.


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