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China’s Q1 butadiene imports rocket 162% on year to 136,239 mt

China’s Q1 imports of butadiene soared by 162% to 136,239 mt against 52,081 mt in the corresponding three months of 2012, General Administration of Customs data released late Tuesday showed.

 But the surge in China’s imports has dampened regional spot prices as demand for synthetic rubber has weakened, resulting in rubber producers lowering their runs to cope with the demand.

 To date, monthly average prices in the first three months of the year have lost half of their value year on year, Platts data showed.

 The January monthly average FOB Korea price for butadiene was $1,758.75/mt, down 43% year on year, while In comparison, the 2012 monthly averages stood at $3,162.50/mt in January, $3,785.50/mt in February and $3,456/mt in March.

 The weak demand in China has resulted in a reverse arbitrage as Asian traders fixed at least 11,000 mt in butadiene for loading in end April, bound for the US Gulf Coast.

 The surge in China’s imports in the first quarter meanwhile, was attributed to new synthetic rubber plants as butadiene is a major feedstock for synthetic rubber production.

 Among the new plants was one operated by German specialty chemicals firm Lanxess, which started up a 30,000 mt/year joint venture nitrile butadiene rubber plant at Nantong, China, on May 23, 2012.

 In September last year, Fushun Petrochemical started up a 200,000 mt/year styrene-butadiene-rubber plant in northern China’s Liaoning province.

 

CHINA’S BUTADIENE IMPORTS IN Q1:

Source Q1 2013 (mt) Q1 2012 (mt) Change (%)
South Korea 39,546 11,791 +235.4
The Netherlands 31,499 10,253 +207.2
Taiwan 10,498 4,560 +130.2
Thailand 7,995 1,541 +418.8
Iran 6,753 4,98 +35.1
Total* 136,239 52,081 +161.6

 

CHINA’S MONTHLY BUTADIENE IMPORTS:

Source Jan 2013 (mt) Feb 2013 (mt) mar 2013 (mt) Change (%)
South Korea 14,290 10,653 14,603 +37.1
Iran 2,000 0 4,753 N/A
Thailand 7,994 0 3,957 N/A
The Netherlands 19,197 9,727 2,575 -73.5
Taiwan 7,498 3,000 1,500 -50.0
Singapore 1,998 944 1,000 +5.9
Japan 3,995 1,871 0 -100.0
Belgium 5,250 0 0 N/A
Brazil 3,142 0 0 N/A
US 3,124 0 0 N/A
Total* 76,643 31,208 28,388 -9.0

*Includes supply sources with relatively low or sporadic volumes

 Source: General Administration of Customs

Source: platts.com

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