Ethylene output in Japan in May 2009 totalled 577,600 tons as compared with 594,500 tons in May 2008 as per the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, dipping by 2.8% as compared to May 2008 despite this year’s lighter maintenance shutdown schedule. May 2009 had two maintenance-related plant shutdowns, while May 2008 had three plant shutdowns. However, May output rose by 2.9% from 561,100 tons in April. This indicates the second consecutive month there of year-on-year percentage decline smaller than 3%, after double digit percentage falls for previous 7 months due to slack demand for petrochemcials amid the recession. The export volume of ethylene rose 77.2% to 289,700 tons in April from a year earlier.