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Insight | Time: Nov 28 2022 10:35AM  Editor:Dilys Wang
China's PSF imports from Southeast Asia and Africa in Jan-Oct, 2022
 
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In Oct, 2022, PSF exports of China were 77,000 tons, up 12.2% year on year and down 11.2% month on month, and imports were 8,000 tons, down 10.1% year on year and up 2.6% month on month.


In the first ten months of 2022, exports totaled 823kt, up 8.9% year on year, down 0.7% from the same period of 2019. Imports amounted to 76kt, down 43.7% year on year, and down 58.3% from the same period of 2019.

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HS code 55032000 is synthetic staple fibers, of polyesters, not carded, including virgin PSF and recycled PSF.  And the imports from Southeast Asia and African are mainly the recycled PSF.  The following are the changes in recent years.


In 2022, imports from Southeast Asia hit a new low in recent three years, especially the imports from Vietnam, have declined significantly.

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In the import origins of PSF, Myanmar appeared in 2017, and the overall imports were not much.  In 2019, one HC re-PSF production line in Hangzhou was moved to Myanmar, and has not started production till now. In 2020, imports declined sharply. In 2021, operation was unstable affected by the epidemic and Feb 1 coup, and the products mainly sold to Europe and the United States. Imports were only 378 tons in 2021, and in 2022, there was still no imports by now.

 

Vietnam started to exert force in 2018. Following the solid waste ban, domestic plants moved to foreign countries gradually. Vietnam has gathered solid re-PSF and a few HC virgin PSF plants. Imports in 2018 soared to 13,113 tons and reached 30,567 tons in 2021. It was mainly attributed to the demand recovery, larger price spread between virgin PSF and recycled PSF and the speculative demand around the Lunar New Year.  In 2020, a few new plants engaged solid re-PSF put into operation, with a capacity of 50 tons per day, and the products are mainly delivered to China, so the monthly imports from Vietnam are higher year on year. In May 2021, Vietnam started the strict lock-down measures with the outbreak of epidemic. Till Sep, there were 729 tons imported, and 459 tons imported in Oct, the lowest level in recent two years. With the relaxation of power rationing and control of epidemic, imports in Nov-Dec climbed up obviously to 2,000 tons. In addition, affected by surging sea freight, China-origin cheap fibers were hard to sell to Vietnam, and HC re-PSF sales were smooth in Vietnam.

 

In Nov, 2022, it was heard that feedstock prices were relatively high, and re-PSF had no price edge to be exported to China. Local operating rate was not high overall.

 

From Jan, 2022, imports from Vietnam reduced largely, lower than the same period of previous years every month. In Jan-Oct, 2022, imports totaled 9,533 tons, down 64% year on year.

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Imports from Thailand were 45kt in 2019, and then reduced gradually. The imports put certain impact on Guangdong market. There were still new capacities, including HC re-PSF, hollow PSF and colored yarn. A few plants plan to start up this year. In Jan-Oct, 2022, imports were 14,987 tons.


In 2021, the imports from Cambodia were 1,261 tons. In Jan-Oct, 2022, imports were only 664 tons.

 

Imports from Southeast Asia were 98,390 tons in 2019, 78,779 tons in 2020, 76,245 tons in 2021 and 34,016 tons in Jan-Oct, 2022.

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The African market has gradually risen in recent years, especially in 2018-2019, some domestic production lines have also been transferred to Africa. Therefore, the exports to China has increased rapidly from 2019. Imports in 2020 have grown by 28%, mainly from South Africa and Nigeria, but in 2021 imports from South Africa shrank sharply affected by the riots, which caused disruptions of plant operation. Imports from Nigeria in Mar 2021 were good, reaching 2,728 tons. But the imports from Africa were zero in the fourth quarter of 2021. In 2022, there were only imports from Uganda of 455 tons. Exports to China are supposed to be limited this year, mostly to Europe. Recycled PSF capacities continue to expand in Africa benefited from the edge in sea freight to Europe and no high tax. Exports to China may be limited this year.

China's PSF imports from Africa (incl. virgin PSF and re-PSF)
Unit: tons 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Jan-Sep, 2022
South Africa 0 230 24 5586 6122 638 0
Nigeria 0 0 0 5667 9069 6397 0
Tanzania 0 0 0 643 0 0 0
Egypt 0 0 102 39 0 0 0
Ethiopia 0 0 0 0 98 0 0
Uganda





455
Total 0 230 126 11935 15289 7035 455

Recently, virgin PSF prices move lower fast. Currently, lower prices of close virgin PSF are at around 6,850yuan/mt, and HC virgin PSF prices are at 7,400yuan/mt for big deals. Price spread between virgin PSF at lower level and re-PSF narrows further. Re-PSF market is in a dilemma. China PSF capacities are oversupplied, restraining PSF imports.

 

PSF exports may recover to around one million tons in 2022, while imports are likely to reduce largely to 90-100kt.

[RISK DISCLAIMER] All opinions, news, analysis, prices or other information contained on this report is provided by analyst of Zhejiang Huarui Information Consulting Co., Ltd (CCFGroup) as general market commentary and does not constitute investment advice. CCFGroup will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.
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