Japanese ethylene production has spiked by 27.6% to 593,200 tons in February 2010 vs 465,000 tons in February 2009. Propped up by robust demand from China, ethylene production has increased for the seventh consecutive month, as per the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. One maintenance-related plant shutdown was held in Japan in February 2010, as compared to no plant shutdowns in February 2009. Ethylene export volume rose 16% to 236,400 tons in January from a year ago, while February export figures are awaited.
But with record number of maintenance shutdowns this year in Japan, production of ethylene is expected to decrease over the coming months. At least 2.5 mln tons of naphtha- about 5% of total demand in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will be cut because of maintenance vs last year's 2% loss. Of this 1.6 mln tons will be from Japan.