High US propylene costs may cause processors to abandon PP

03 May 2011 21:03  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--High US prices for propylene may encourage some processors to abandon polypropylene (PP) in favour of polystyrene (PS) or high density polyethylene (HDPE), a consultant said on Tuesday.

During an earnings conference call, LyondellBasell chief executive Jim Gallogly said this trend appeared during the 2011 first quarter, as sales volumes for less sophisticated applications of PP had fallen somewhat.

Propylene prices have reached record highs, causing PP to rise.

In the US, some injection moulders can switch between PP and HDPE, said Bob Bauman, president of Polymer Consulting International, a US consultancy.

Such switching could occur for housewares, since the performance characteristics of the product is not a crucial factor, Bauman said.

However, such a switch would be unlikely for processors who make parts for automobiles, he said. 

Some thermoformers may switch to PS from PP, he said, but it would not be easy, because PS prices are also relatively high as a result of high feedstock styrene costs.

However, if thermoformers cannot find PP in the market, they would have no choice but to switch to PS, Bauman said.

For more on olefins, polyolefns or aromatics, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
For more on LyondellBasell visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Al Greenwood
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