China Imports Large Volumes of Methanol, EDC and Polycarbonates

China’s imports of polycarbonates, EDC and methanol hit 15 month highs in March 2011. Imports of other polymers and chemicals also rebounded after the February holiday. First quarter YTD trends were mixed, most products monitored either showing gains or small declines.

Polycarbonates imports into China for the first quarter of 2011 were up 16%, to 321 K tons, on higher volumes from South Korea, Taiwan, US and others.  YTD imports of other engineering polymer imports were down only slightly, declines ranging from 1%-7% on ABS, SAN and polyacetals.

Imports into China of several commodity polymers were up for the quarter.  China’s polypropylene imports rose 2%, to 997 K tons, noting a 30% increase in volumes from Saudi Arabia. Propylene copolymer imports, 286 K tons, were up 16%.  Imports of uncompounded PVC, 352 K tons, increased 13% on higher volumes from the US, Taiwan, South Korea and others. EVA imports, 124 K tons, rose 5%.

There were declines, however, on China’s polyethylene imports for the quarter. Imports of LLDPE fell 8%, to 623 K tons; imports of HDPE, 10%, to 896 K tons. Imports from the US of both of these polymers were down sharply and lower volumes also were sourced from South Korea but supplies from Saudi Arabia increased. China’s LDPE imports plummeted 41%, to 296 K tons, on lower volumes from numerous sources.

Substantially higher volumes of olefins, methanol, EDC and VCM were imported into China during the quarter. Propylene imports were up 15%, to 453 K ton; ethylene rose 20%, to 252 K tons. Methanol imports jumped 19%, to 1.2 M tons, on higher volumes from Iran, Oman and Malaysia. Imports of EDC surged 42%, to 151 K tons; VCM rose 10%, to 276 K tons.

China’s MEG, DEG and styrene imports YTD were either unchanged, or, increased slightly versus last year.

[important]This information is from ITP’s newsletters on global trade in polymers and chemicals, available by subscription monthly or quarterly.[/important]

Jean J. Sudol
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