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Japan petrochemical exports shrinking; economy deep in recession

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan’s export volumes of key
petrochemicals have shrunk in the first seven
months of 2020, with external demand likely to
stay muted, as the world’s third-biggest
economy wallows in deep recession amid the
pandemic.

Its shipments of benzene, ethylene and
propylene abroad have logged steep contractions
in January-July 2020, according to ICIS Demand
and Supply Database.

Japan export volume (in
tonnes)

Product Jan-July ’20 Jan-July ’19 % change
Benzene 254,654 390,025 -34.7
Ethylene 356,557 451,560 -21.0
Propylene 442,147 553,148 -20.1

2020 Quarterly breakdown

Product Q1 Q2 H1 Total H1 Yr-on-yr % change
Benzene       
121,146
      
104,718
      
225,864
-30.7
Ethylene       
163,179
      
153,241
      
316,420
-15.5
Propylene       
177,228
      
196,865
      
374,093
-20.7

Source: ICIS Supply and Demand
Database

Japan, which is the world’s third-biggest
economy, is export-oriented like most of Asia,
with cars – a key downstream market for
petrochemicals – as its major export product.

Initial August data showed continued sharp
contractions in

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