Will the chemical import and export situation improve?

  • Date2023-12-24

  • Author孙书博

With the current situation of national foreign trade still grim, what are the prospects for the import and export of the petroleum and chemical industry in 2013? The industry generally believes that the situation throughout the year is hardly optimistic.

According to customs statistics, in 2012, the total import and export volume of the petroleum and chemical industry was US$637.59 billion, an increase of 5.1% over the previous year. Among them, the total import volume was US$464.01 billion, an increase of 6.7%; the total export volume was US$173.59 billion, an increase of 0.8%. The cumulative deficit was US$290.42 billion, an increase of 10.6% over the previous year. The data shows that the export situation faced by the industry has become more severe.

Dr. Xinyu Mei, a researcher at the Institute of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, analyzed that since the second half of 2011, the macroeconomic operations of emerging market economies have been violently fluctuating, economic growth has stalled sharply, capital has fled on a large scale, and currencies have depreciated sharply. Even popular emerging markets like the BRIC countries are not immune. The continuation of this trend will have a huge impact on the import and export trade of China's chemical industry in 2013. The import and export trade situation of the industry is not optimistic.

The reason is due to both internal and external factors. Although China's total chemical import and export volume accounts for a small proportion of the industry's total output value, it still has structural problems and needs to be improved in its export strategy. There is still a lot of room for expansion in the export markets of some of our country's chemical products. Take chemical fertilizers as an example. At present, our country's fertilizer exports are mainly to India, followed by Brazil, Vietnam, Pakistan and other countries. The main fertilizer importing countries in the world are the United States, Brazil, India, and Indonesia. China's fertilizer export areas are still have huge difference elated to the major fertilizer importing countries.

In addition, the chemical products exported by our country are mainly resource-, energy-consuming, and labor-intensive products, while the chemical products imported are high-end chemicals.

Shangpu Consulting analysis pointed out that when the international "cold wave" hit, our country's fine chemical industry showed a sensitive side. This is mainly because many fine chemical products in our country are still in the initial stage of development and there is a big gap compared with the international advanced level, especially in terms of technical reserves. Our country still basically relies on imports of fine chemicals in some key fields such as military and aerospace. This fully exposes the increasingly prominent contradictions of structural surplus of petrochemical products, insufficient scientific and technological innovation capabilities, and low industrial concentration.

Experts say that such an import and export structure is easily constrained and restricted by relevant international policies, such as carbon tariffs. And it is precisely this import and export structure that will bring many unfavorable factors to future chemical foreign trade. First, rising labor costs and raw material prices will directly affect the price advantage of exported goods. In addition, as multinational groups invest heavily in setting up factories in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, labor-intensive products will be transferred accordingly, which will also have a greater impact on our country's exports. The most important point is that foreign energy-saving and emission-reduction policies are under great pressure. The export of double-high products is restricted by many countries, and the environmental protection costs of enterprises will also increase accordingly. At present, it seems that our country's chemical import and export has not completely solved the internal structural problems, which will inevitably have a certain impact on the chemical import and export in 2013.

In addition to internal factors, the development and changes in foreign chemical industries also have an impact on our country's chemical import and export. At present, China's chemical products are mainly exported to North America, the European Union and emerging economies countries. Among them, the U.S. economic recovery is more obvious. Moreover, the success of the U.S. shale gas revolution has also provided opportunities for low-cost domestic chemical products in the United States. Their pursuit of "energy independence" has a great impact on our country's import and export of chemical products.

Some data show that compared with Europe and the United States, the risk of turmoil in emerging market economies poses a greater challenge to China's chemical import and export trade. The status of emerging markets in China's foreign trade continues to rise. Whether it is imports or exports, emerging markets account for more than 50% of trade with China. Since the second half of 2011, the macroeconomic operations of emerging market economies have been experiencing severe fluctuations. Experts believe that if the economies of emerging economies experience another sharp decline in 2013, it may have a huge impact on China's foreign trade.

At the same time, international trade protection factors are also unfavorable factors restricting the development of our country's foreign trade. According to statistics from the Global Trade Alert Organization, from 1979 to June 2012, of the 1,530 trade remedy investigations launched against China worldwide, the chemical industry led the list with 371 cases. Relevant experts concluded, "China is the biggest victim of international trade protectionism, and the chemical industry is the hardest hit area." In just over a month of 2013, there were 12 trade remedy cases against China originating from emerging economies. The momentum of international trade protectionism is intensifying, and the chemical industry is bound to be severely affected.

In addition, the factor of foreign currency depreciation cannot be ignored. At present, the global economic growth is slowing down, and the pressure on industry exports caused by the depreciation of the US dollar and the euro is increasing day by day. According to statistics, the US dollar exchange rate has continued to depreciate in the past 20 years. At present, the United States is still stepping up its money printing press, and the pressure for RMB appreciation is increasing. Some experts predict that the RMB exchange rate against the U.S. dollar may break 6 this year, making life for chemical import and export companies even more difficult.