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Problems with Russian polymers export

Problems with Russian polymers export
Russian exports of most polymers, especially to China, fell significantly during the first half of 2011 against the same period last year as domestic demand picked up strongly.

The most notable decline was for high density polyethylene (HDPE) exports to China which plunged from nearly 32,000 tonnes in the first six months of 2010 to zero a year later. LDPE dropped from more than 110,800 tonnes to 40,870 tonnes and even polyamide fell slightly from 30,225 to 27,696 tonnes.

The PA change came despite a Russian capacity increase with the national producer Kuibyshevazot of Togliatti, which announced engineering plastics joint ventures deals with Netherlands-based DSM group in January 2011, launching a fourth line.

Overall only polycarbonate (PC), caprolactam and isobutanols exports to China recorded increases, PC from zero to 9,518 tonnes, in the first half year, according to chemical sector consultancy CIREC.

Petrochemical export volumes were down substantially by 16% to 1.1 billion tonnes while sales abroad in value terms fell by 8% to around US$ 863 million.

Growing Russian demand meant petrochemical imports remained strong with national producers still unable to feed the extra consumption. Polymers reliant on imports included PVC, HDPE and EPS, reported CIREC.

In the case of PVC new capacity from Russian producers is scheduled to come on stream, notably from the joint venture RusVinyl project in about two years time. But the slack is likely to be taken up gradually.