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China naphtha imports point to slowdown

China naphtha imports point to slowdown Source:
Date: 18-05-2013
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China's slumping naphtha imports go a long way to explaining why industrial output growth has been muted and why it may not accelerate much in coming months.
Net imports of the refined oil product, which is the building block for plastics and synthetic fibers, plunged 38 percent in the first quarter of 2013 to 612,654 tons from the same period a year earlier.
Final figures for April aren't available yet, but given that overall net refined product imports were only 1 percent higher than in March, it's reasonable to assume that net imports of naphtha were largely steady.
The sharp decline in naphtha imports fits with the underwhelming growth in industrial output, which rose 9.3 percent year-on-year in April - up from an 8.9 percent rise in March but below the consensus forecast for 9.5 percent.
Lower naphtha imports are a sign of weakened demand from factories that make products with high plastics content such as toys, cars and electrical goods.
Another factor that explains some of the weakness in naphtha imports is the increased refining capacity in China.
China brought online about 540,000 barrels per day of new capacity in the last quarter of 2012.
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