Gasoline fever lures bumper exports of niche chemical from China
China’s exports of a chemical used to improve the quality of gasoline surged as producers took advantage of higher prices overseas.
Exports of a group of chemicals that includes methyl tert-butyl ether, known as MTBE, rose to about 87,400 tons in May, according to government data. That’s a sixfold gain from April and the highest level in Chinese customs figures going back to 2017. Industry consultant OilChem estimates that most of the exported volumes were MTBE, which boosts the octane rating of gasoline.
根据政府数据，5 月份包括甲基叔丁基醚（MTBE）在内的一组化学品的出口量增至约 87,400 吨。这比 4 月增长了六倍，是自 2017 年以来中国海关数据中的最高水平。行业顾问 OilChem 估计，大部分出口量是 MTBE，这提高了汽油的辛烷值。
Fuel markets have tightened as the peak summer demand period kicks off in the northern hemisphere, with supply in part crimped by upended trade flows following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The availability of components that are blended with gasoline have also been squeezed because of a lack of refining capacity across many regions. The US still makes and ships MTBE, but phased out its domestic use in the 2000s due to water contamination concerns.
随着北半球夏季需求高峰期的开始，燃料市场已经收紧，部分供应受到俄罗斯入侵乌克兰后贸易流动中断的影响。由于许多地区缺乏炼油能力，与汽油混合的成分的供应也受到挤压。美国仍在生产和运输 MTBE，但由于水污染问题，在 2000 年代逐步停止在国内使用。
Malaysia received the most flows from China last month, followed by Singapore and Japan, according to OilChem. Unlike finished products such as gasoline and diesel, Chinese producers are not constrained by export quotas for MTBE. Trade data for chemical products is occasionally adjusted by the customs agency.
据 OilChem 称，马来西亚上个月从中国获得的资金最多，其次是新加坡和日本。与汽油和柴油等成品不同，中国生产商不受 MTBE 出口配额的限制。海关机构偶尔会调整化工产品的贸易数据。
China’s MTBE exports to Europe and the Americas are estimated to reach about 50,000 tons over May and June, according to global commodity intelligence provider ICIS. The last shipments of scale from China outside of Asia was about 11,600 tons sent to Chile in 2019, said ICIS analyst Huang Lifang. Volumes flowing to Singapore could also be redirected to the west, according to ICIS.
据全球商品情报提供商安迅思（ICIS）称，中国对欧洲和美洲的 MTBE 出口量预计在 5 月和 6 月达到约 50,000 吨。ICIS分析师黄立芳表示，2019年中国在亚洲以外的最后一批规模约为11,600吨运往智利。据 ICIS 称，流入新加坡的货物也可能被重定向到西方。
Weak domestic demand in China due to virus lockdowns and the lure of better prices overseas prompted some producers to ship the product for the first time last month. PetroChina Dalian exported 3,500 tons, while Sinochem Quanzhou shipped 1,800 tons to Singapore, according to separate statements.
由于病毒封锁和海外价格上涨的诱惑，中国国内需求疲软，促使一些生产商上个月首次出货该产品。根据单独的声明，中石油大连出口了 3,500 吨，而中化泉州向新加坡出口了 1,800 吨。
The free-on-board price for MTBE in Rotterdam-Amsterdam was about US$530 a ton higher than that in China as of the end of May, according to ICIS. Chinese exporters could make a windfall of 2,000 yuan (US$299) a ton in May and June, OilChem estimated.
据 ICIS 称，截至 5 月底，鹿特丹-阿姆斯特丹的 MTBE 离岸价格比中国高出约 530 美元/吨。OilChem 估计，中国出口商在 5 月和 6 月每吨可赚取 2,000 元人民币（299 美元）的意外之财。
A rebound in Chinese fuel demand as the nation returns from virus restrictions is likely to lead to reduced MTBE flows, according to traders and executives at Chinese refiners, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. OilChem estimated July exports will fall to 50,000-to-60,000 tons.
中国炼油商的交易员和高管表示，随着中国从病毒限制中恢复，中国燃料需求的反弹可能会导致 MTBE 流量减少，由于信息是私密的，他们要求不具名。OilChem 估计 7 月份的出口量将降至 50,000 至 60,000 吨。