NPRA ’09: Dow implements “most” of US PO/PG price increases

30 March 2009 16:43  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical has implemented “most” of its price increases for propylene glycol (PG) and propylene oxide (PO) in the US, the global product director of its PO/PG business said on Monday.

Dow announced an increase of 5 cents/lb (€0.04/lb) for PG and 7 cents/lb for PO on 13 February, to go into effect on 1 March.

“We’ve achieved most of these price increases, which were driven by the rise in propylene prices,” said Mady Bricco, global product director of PO/PG for US-based Dow Chemical, in an interview with ICIS.

Mady spoke on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), sponsored by the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA).

Dow’s capacity utilisation for PO is currently at between 85-90%, said Bricco.

“Conditions are not robust, but not as bad as they were in December,” she said.

In December 2008, customers destocked inventories as feedstock prices dropped, but replenished inventories in January, Bricco noted.

“Now people are cautiously watching their inventories, which are pretty lean,” said Bricco.

“And customers are actually concerned about the impact of facility shutdowns on PO/PG supply. That’s encouraging, as they were not expressing any concerns about that in December,” she added.

Dow saw strong demand for PG from January to March in the US and Europe for de-icing applications, said Bricco.

The season is now coming up for the use of polyurethanes in construction, cars and furniture, she said.

One of the major applications of PG is polyurethane foam for use in the above industries.

“We are cautiously optimistic that demand will improve,” said Bricco.

On 5 March, Dow announced that its joint-venture 300,000 tonne hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) plant with Germany’s BASF in Antwerp, Belgium had completed its start-up phase and was running stably.

“That’s ramping up now and we are shipping product, most of it for internal consumption,” said Bricco.

The IPC started on 29 March and ends on 31 March.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Joseph Chang
+1 713 525 2653

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