December’s global LPG trade maintained the market’s recent strength, with global discharges totaling 4.36 million barrels per day – a gain of 2% from November. For the full year, the late-year recovery in offtake helped to counter the weakness in the second quarter, and averaged 4.25mn bpd. That was up 0.7% from 2019. South Asia was the strongest region on a volume basis, with an increase of 146,000 bpd from November, while North Africa and North America gained the most on a percentage basis. Given strong demand in the face of higher LPG prices at year-end, it is possible that offtake continues to grow, as many petrochemical companies still have a need for LPG feedstock.
South Asian offtake was driven by India, which offloaded 790,000 bpd – the highest on our records. Reliance’s Dahej terminal offloaded 142,000 bpd, which was up 29% from the 110,000 bpd in November. The terminal mostly discharges ethane for use in its ethylene cracker. Global demand for ethylene and polyethylene remains strong for food packaging, in light of the rising global number of coronavirus cases. Other terminals such as Indian Oil’s in Haldia and Mumbai Port Trust’s Pirpau chemical berth also saw increases.