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PTA production rising significantly, but imports to continue
Sep '11
For past few years, there has been a rise in China's PTA production capacity and operating rates, leading to a decline in imports.

China has been importing huge quantities of PTA every year, but owing to increased domestic production capacity, its dependency on imports decreased from around 50 percent prior to 2006 to 31 percent in 2010.

During 2006-10, China imported 6-7 million tons of PTA annually. In the first six months of 2011, it imported 2.613 million tons, showing a 6 percent decline from a year earlier period. This decrease in China's PTA imports is mainly owing to the rapid addition of new capacities since the beginning of the current year.

Registering a growth rate of nearly 60 percent, the country's PTA production capacity reached 9.45 million tons in 2006.

After several years of steady rise in PTA capacity, there has been rapid expansion in 2011 with growth rate being as high as 31 percent. By the end of the current year, the production capacity is expected to be more than 20 million tons.

Besides the significant increase in PTA capacity, there is also a rise in operating efficiency of plants. Plants are operating at their optimum capacities to meet the strong polyester demand, which is more than PTA production capacity.

During 2003-05, PTA plants in China had an average operating rate of over 90 percent. But, with the rise in PTA production capacity since 2006, the average operating rate declined to around 80 percent.

In 2010, however, average operating rate of PTA plants once again became over 90 percent. This high operating rate was maintained in 2011 and PTA inventory is low with factories, traders as well as downstream polyester manufacturers.

Thus, with China's PTA production re-entering a phase of rapid expansion in 2011, the country may attain self-sufficiency or even surplus stage in PTA supply during the next few years. Industry experts, however, feel that China will still keep importing some amount of PTA.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - China

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