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An overview of the styrene import in China

An overview of the styrene import in China2019.06.04

Styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene. This derivative of benzene is a colorless oily liquid that evaporates easily and has a sweet smell, although high concentrations have a less pleasant odor. Styrene is the precursor to polystyrene and several copolymers.


China is the largest styrene consumer and the largest importer of styrene in the world. There are many downstream production enterprises in China, such as polystyrene, ABS and styrene-butadiene latex which need large amount of the styrene but the domestic supply is far to meet the production needs, therefore, China's styrene largely depends on import from other countries. 


In the past seven years, China’s styrene import volume has shown an increase and then a decrease trend. In 2015, the import hit the peak record at 3,740,000 MT and after that it showed a steady decline and has reached 2,910,000 tons in 2018, declined by 9.3% from a year before. 



The import value during the same period showed a different path. It peaked at 6,352 million USD in 2013 and bottomed to 3,643 million USD in 2016. In 2018, the import value was 3,960 million dollars, decreased by 1.4% compared with last year.


In respect of import source, China's styrene are mainly imported from Korea and Saudi Arabia, which accounts for 35.41% and 20.35% respectively. 



Styrene can be used in production styrene resin and butadiene styrene rubber. From the perspective of downstream demand structure, EPS, PS and ABS are the largest styrene consuming products with the share of 31%, 22% and 20% respectively.




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