July 17, 2008

Japan’s Jan.-June Ethylene Output Down 8.2 Pct

Tokyo, July 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan's ethylene output in January- June fell 8.2 pct from the same period last year to 3,570,500 tons, the first first-half decline in two years, an industry group said Thursday.

The fall reflects Japan's slowing economy and ethylene plant repairs, which were more frequent than usual, according to the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association.

Ethylene output in June decreased 5.9 pct from a year earlier to 572,500 tons, falling for the eighth consecutive month, the association said. This was because four plants, two more than a year before, were undergoing regular repair.

Output of 14 of 17 other petrochemical products, including polypropylene, styrene monomer and vinyl chloride monomer, also fell in the first half, the association also said.

Mitsui Chemicals Inc. President Kenji Fujiyoshi told reporters that soaring crude oil prices have raised concerns over the future course of the economy.

He said that petrochemical companies probably want to wait and see before they decide to shrink production capacities and that the July-September period may be a turning point for them.END

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