China drive for self-sufficiency in petrochemicals and its implications for global petrochemicals
China is the most important petrochemicals market in the world due to the volume of its demand growth. The scale of consumption is such that today several petrochemicals remain in major deficit in China – such as paraxylene, to make polyester, and styrene, which makes a range of plastics. But because of China’s more vulnerable position resulting from the trade war, senior policy makers are intent on closing the import gap. Much greater self-sufficiency will happen across a range of products with complete self-sufficiency in some petrochemicals. We examine the implications for the global petrochemicals business, the investment model of which is largely built on being able to export big volumes to China.