Japan’s Chemical Reaction
Trade data captures disruptions in Japan’s organic chemicals exports
In our last follow-up on Japan’s triple disaster in March (“Gauging Japan Disaster’s Impact”), we quoted Port of Long Beach spokesman Art Wong on the repercussions for container trade: “Ships take about two weeks to cross the ocean, plus goods were already ready to go in Japan. So it would be April before we saw any impact.”
We’ve been tracking the Japanese export data as it’s become available. The trade data indicates a 1.6% drop in this April’s Japanese exports compared to April 2010. May 2011 is up 1.6% compared to May 2010.
As expected (and covered extensively by the media), our data confirms a precipitous drop in the country’s top export – motor cars and vehicles (HS 8703) – with April 2011 shipments down 64% compared to April 2010, and May’s shipments down 33% compared to May 2010.
We’ve been drilling down into the trade statistics for a more detailed view of post-disaster shifts in supply in select sectors. For example, Japan’s shipments of organic chemicals (HS 2900) were actually up 25.43% in April 2011 compared to the same month a year ago; the monthly rate of growth slowed to 9.78% in May. However, analysis at the 6-digit HS code level showed shipments of top-ranked export styrene (HS 290250), which gained 66.41% in March over the preceding year’s March, dropped 12.37% in April, and were down 21.6% in May, compared to the same months in 2010. Other big losers in May (based on percentage loss in FOB US$ value from the comparable month in 2010) were Butan-1-OL (HS 290513), Diethylene Glycol (HS 290941), and Octylphenol (HS 290713).
You can see more trade data results – including the changes in Japan’s top 10 organic chemicals exports for March, April and May – in our latest free report (and the first of our new “Quick Look” reports aimed at capturing data “before and after” market-changing events). Download the FREE REPORT here.
Date posted: July 22, 2011