Beijing, China – China raised its MDI and TDI production in 2015 with lowered imports, according to information presented by Zhang Yue, senior consultant at China National Chemical Information Center at a conference organised by China Polyurethane Industry Association in July 2016.
The start-up of BASF’s 400kT/year MDI plant in Chongqing put China’s total capacity in 2015 at 2.7m tonne MDI, up 17% from 2014. Production grew by 14% to 2.1m tonnes, putting the capacity utilisation rate at 75%, Zhang Yue said.
Other major suppliers include Wanhua’s 1.9m tonne/year facilities in Yantai, Shandong and Ningbo, Zhejiang as well as Covestro and Shanghai Lianheng Isocyanate.
The country’s MDI consumption last year rose 8% to 2m tonnes, imports dropping by 12% to 374 kT, mostly caused by a decrease in polymerised MDI imports. Exports grew by 14% to 444 kT, Zhang Yue said.
China’s MDI import prices in 2015 declined by 23% year on year to $1,636/tonne, a low point in the global market. Prices in the domestic market hit CNY 9,200/tonne ($1,378/tonne) in October, a record low since 2001, according to Zhang Yue.
The country’s MDI makers will continue increasing exports to counter the supply surplus in the domestic market, although current export volume is still not large enough to make up the gap, according Zhang Yue.
On the TDI front, China’s total capacity remained at 890 kT/year in 2015 with stable production volume of 780 kT, he added.
A few projects scheduled to start operation in the year have been suspended or postponed, such as Covestro’s 310 kT/year upgrading project in Shanghai and Wanhua’s 300 kT/year new project in Yantai, he said.
Major China TDI suppliers include Shanghai BASF, Cangzhou Dahua, Gansu Yinguang Juyin, Yantai Juli and Fujian Southeast Electrochemistry, according to data from the conference.
China’s TDI import in 2015 reached 3 7kT, at the same level of 2014. Imports from Japan and Korean made up 94% of that volume last year, according to the China National Chemical Information Center.
TDI exports, however, dropped by 14% to 63 kT compared with 2014. Covestro continued to be the major exporter, accounting for nearly all of China’s TDI exports, Zhang Yue, added.
Exchange Rates: Xe.com 6 September 2016.