Japan petrochemical plant closures planned due to weakening demand

The Japan petrochemical industry has been beset by declining domestic demand, the appreciation of the yen and competition from new plants starting up in the Middle East and Asia, as per Reportbuyer.com. The situation is unlikely to improve radically in 2013 with growth set to decline to 1.2% from 1.5% as the country struggles to find new markets and suffers because of weakening demand both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, the yen is set to appreciate from an average of JPY78/US$ in 2012 to JPY75/US$ in 2013 and feedstock prices are estimated to remain high. In this context, competition is likely to be fierce with an additional 3.39 mln tpa of ethylene capacity set to come online in Asia over 2013 (on top of growth of 6.25 mln tpa in 2012). Closures are planned over the next two years as Japanese producers seek to restructure operations, but a further slump in both domestic and regional markets could lead to permanent shut-downs.
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