Americas chemical industry outlook for 2008

09 January 2008 21:49  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The following stories were published on ICIS news between Monday 24 December 2008 and Friday 4 January 2008.

US chems face an energy squeeze
US chemical producers and many other manufacturers will face an increasingly tight squeeze in energy in the New Year as Congress moves to broadly increase demand for natural gas - even as it continues to restrict gas supplies.

Recession threatens US chems
The US economy could slip into a recession next year, leaving the nation's chemical industry dependent on exports to stay afloat.

Weak dollar strengthens US exports
The US will achieve a chemical trade surplus of close to $2.1bn (€1.4bn) in 2008 as a result of the weakened dollar and flat import growth, according to a projection by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

Polystyrene stable in Latin America
Latin American polystyrene (PS) markets were expected to remain stable with supply holding down prices in 2008, industry sources said.

US olefins face cost, supply woes
Conditions in the US olefins sector will change little in January, as the market will start 2008 with tight supplies and looming concerns over crude oil costs.

Energy prices dampen US aromatics
Falling energy values, ample domestic supply and lower demand are likely to dampen US benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) prices in 2008, aromatics sources said.

New game, old hurdle for US solvents
The return of Lyondell to the isopropanol (IPA) merchant market will give the US solvents market a new supply dynamic early in 2008, but the background demand picture is shaping up to be a re-run of the soft conditions seen in 2007. 

Polyethylene grows in Latin America
Latin American polyethylene (PE) markets will grow in 2008 in step with booming economies in most emerging markets.

US polymer producers hopeful
US polymer producers said they will attempt to rebuild eroded margins in 2008, but buyers predict softer market conditions will not support higher prices.

US PET tightness to continue
Most US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers can expect continued tightness with further mergers and acquisitions throughout 2008, with new capacity and expansions in North America not changing the supply picture until 2009.

Feedstock concerns LatAm PP
Concerns over the supply of feedstock will remain a potent obstacle to growth in Latin America’s polypropylene (PP) markets in 2008 and beyond, industry sources said.

Feedstock woes plague LatAm
Latin America’s petrochemicals markets will remain stable in 2008 due to overall strong economic growth, but patchy feedstock supplies threaten to hold back the industry's expansion, analysts said.

US PVC market fears volatile year
US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market sources said they expect 2008 to be volatile as new production capacity is expected to come online during a period of weak demand.

Politics drives US biofuels path
The US political establishment's passionate backing for biofuels, particularly ethanol, should keep the industry on an expansion path in 2008 despite growing misgivings about its economic and environmental benefits.

R&D focuses on alternative energy
The US chemicals industry will continue to invest in alternative feedstock and energy sources in 2008 as skyrocketing costs in crude oil play havoc with their profit margins.

US chems seek rail freight relief
US chemical producers hope Congress will provide some relief in 2008 from what they consider to be exorbitant rail freight rates, but, while they may get a break on shipment costs, they are almost certain to get more regulation.

US base oils deal with price issues
US base oils players will grapple in 2008 with new ways to determine contract prices to more accurately reflect the market, industry sources said.

US chems face security rules in flux
The US chemicals industry in 2008 will have to adjust to a new set of federal regulations on protecting production facilities from possible terrorist attack, even as Congress moves to change the very law underlying those rules.

($1.00 = €0.68)

By: Staff Reporter
+44 20 8652 3214

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