LPG in World Markets: High Prices Could Dampen Record Chinese Imports

This current feature was extracted from the latest edition of Poten’s LPG in World Markets, a monthly service published on September 8, 2023.

Chinese LPG imports were up 22% to about 18.5 MMt in the first seven months of 2023 with monthly imports staying above 3 MMt/m since hitting a record 3.28 MMt in May. Year-to-date, five PDH plants have started operations, adding approximately 3 MMt/y of combined on-purpose propylene production capacity, driving demand for feedstock propane.

However, LPG imports into China are expected to soften in the near term from previous record highs due to higher feedstock prices and a sluggish downstream market, which has crippled margins in recent weeks. Four PDH units were reportedly down in August for maintenance, reducing average run rates – three more units are scheduled for turnarounds in September. Inventories are also high now following strong import growth in the past few months.

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