CONSTANCE, Germany - Market research firm Ceresana has released a new report, Ethylene Value Chain China, which offers an analysis of the current and future development of the entire ethylene industry in China. Attention is given to various downstream products at various points of the value chain and final end applications.

Chinese demand for ethylene more than doubled between 2005 and 2013. Revenues generated with this product rose to about $19 billion. Downstream processing industries are responsible for the notable increase. Manufacturers of the three polyethylene plastics HDPE, LLDPE and LDPE currently process more than 60% of the ethylene consumed in China. Other direct applications of ethylene include important chemicals such as ethylene dichloride, ethylene oxide and ethylbenzene.

China has to import crude oil. Since import prices rose considerably in past years, domestic producers are incurring problems in producing ethylene at competitive prices. Currently, China not only imports large amounts of ethylene, but also increasingly HDPE, LLDPE, LDPE as well as the PET pre-product ethylene glycol. In its five-year-plan, the Chinese government has included the target of increasing self-sufficiency regarding ethylene and its applications to more than 64% by 2015. In order to reach this target, additional naphtha crackers will be opened. Also, utilization of China's extensive cheap coal resources in the manufacturing of chemical products will be increased. China places considerable hope on CTO technology (coal to olefins).

More than three-quarters of ethylene oxide demand in China originates in the production of ethylene glycol, which in turn is mainly used to manufacture PET fibers. The second-largest application for ethylene glycol is producing PET packaging, especially PET bottles. Consumption of ethylbenzene increases in accordance with Chinese demand for styrene, which is used for the production of various plastics. The highest growth rate is expected for the use in acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)/ styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN). This market is profiting enormously from growth in the electronics sector.

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