NPRA ’09: Blu-Ray technology could help the phenol market

29 March 2009 16:40  [Source: ICIS news]

Blu-Ray could help phenol marketSAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Blu-Ray technology could boost phenol markets hurt by weak polycarbonate demand, a phenol buyer said on Sunday.

“While most US consumers are not out actively making new electronics purchases just yet, we believe they will choose the Blu-Ray technology when things do turn around,” the phenol buyer said on the sidelines of The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) annual meeting. “And we see that happening by 2010, maybe sooner.”

Polycarbonate (PC) soared in popularity in the earlier part of the decade, enjoying double-digit growth as consumers switched over from records and VHS tapes to CD and DVD discs.

Overcapacity and an internet generation who preferred to download entertainment rather than purchase a tangible product caused PC’s double-digit growth to sink to the single digits, affecting the phenol market.

Then, in 2008, popularity of PC products in the food and beverage sector sank as health concerns about bisphenol A (BPA) feedstock grew.

Phenol spot prices fell to 24 cents/lb ($529/tonne or €397/tonne) FOB (free on board) US Gulf from a high of $1,675/tonne in 2008, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS Pricing.

US phenol sellers include Georgia Gulf, INEOS, Shell, and Sunoco.

The 2009 International Petrochemical Conference runs Sunday through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Heather McGuire Doyle
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