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Japan bitumen consumption rose
4/26/2021 12:00:00 AM

Japan's bitumen consumption rose by 11pc on the year in February during the country's peak road paving season.

Consumption rose to 179,823t in February because of higher road construction activity and ahead of the 31 March end of Japan's 2020-21 fiscal year, according to the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ). The country's peak road paving season typically runs from October-March as weather turns supportive for road works and contractors use up the allocated public works budget for such projects.
Bitumen production of 214,806t in February was 4pc higher than the previous month but 3pc lower than a year earlier. Production at Japanese refiners Eneos' 145,000 b/d Sendai and Idemitsu's 190,000 b/d Chiba refineries were affected by an earthquake that hit northeast Japan on 13 February. Idemitsu resumed operations at the Chiba refinery on 19 February, while Eneos restarted the Sendai refinery on 16 April.
Japan's February bitumen imports totalled 25,701t, 5.8pc and 45.5pc lower than January and a year earlier respectively. Importers pointed to limited supply availability from key supplier South Korea because of its reduced bitumen output.
Price hikes for imported cargoes also capped Japanese demand, with domestic sellers having difficulty raising domestic prices to match regional levels.
Japan's domestic prices in February were unchanged from January at ¥38,513-46,619/t ($360-430/t) ex-refinery.
Japan's bitumen stocks were at 173,210t at the end of February, down by 4.9pc from the previous month and by 20pc from a year earlier.
Source: Argus