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Insight | Time:Feb 28 2018 8:55AM
China's styrene import scenario to change on antidumping
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China's Ministry of Commerce imposed anti-dumping measures on imported styrene monomer by requiring importers to pay a cash deposit on purchase. The Chinese mainland's styrene monomer industry has been "substantially" damaged by the dumping of styrene monomer from the Republic of Korea and the United States, as well as from the island of Taiwan, the ministry said in its preliminary ruling following an investigation launched last year.

Starting from February 12, importers of the product from the above areas must place deposits with Chinese Customs based on dumping margins of between 5 percent and 10.7 percent.

Country/region Company Levy
South Korea Hanwha Total 7.80%
South Korea Yeochun NCC 7.80%
South Korea Lotte Chemical 8.40%
South Korea LG Chem 8%
South Korea SK Global Chemical 8.00%
South Korea All others 8.40%
Taiwan, China Taiwan Chemical Fiber Co. 5.00%
Taiwan, China All others 5.00%
United States Lyondell Chemical 9.20%
United States Westlake Styrene 10.70%
United States INEOS Styrolution 9.60%
United States Americas Styrenics 9.60%
United States All others 10.70%

According to China Customs, China imported nearly 3.5 million tons of styrene monomer in 2016. Imports from South Korea was 1.23 million tons, accounting for 35.03%, from Taiwan 458.95kt (13.12%) and US 420.79 kt (12.03%). Imports from the three areas accounted for about 60.17% of total SM import in 2016.

In 2017, imports from the three areas totaled 1.68 million tons, accounting for 52.19% of China's total SM import (3.21 million tons). Imports from South Korea was 1.14 million tons, accounting for 35.41% of total, from Taiwan 233.2kt (7.26%) and US 305.7kt (9.52%).

Imports from the three areas are expected to decrease due to the deposit. However, large account of SM demand will still depend on import, as the increment of domestic capacity might not offset the gap. China domestic capacity is expected to increase by 760 kt/year in 2018. Qingdao Haiwan Chemical (Qingdao Soda Ash) started its 500kt/year SM unit in mid-January and achieved on-spec products in end January. Anhui Haoyuan is expected to start its 260kt/year unit in May or June.

Korean producers might ship styrene monomer to Southeast Asia and Japan, and more SEA and Japan origin cargoes might be sold into China. Taiwan and US, particularly US, may ship more cargoes to Europe and SEA. Cargoes from the Middle East might also increase.
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