US Westlake sees continued strength in PVC exports

01 November 2011 19:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Export demand for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin improved in the third quarter and is expected to continue to improve in the future, based on the cost advantage of natural-gas-based ethylene production, executives with US-based Westlake said on Tuesday.

"In the global market, the US is the most competitive country to produce PVC," CEO Albert Chao said, adding that America's ethane cost advantage, combined with a lack of competition from the Middle East, will allow for continued PVC export growth in the future.

Westlake's vinyls division produced an income from operations of $16.1m (€12m) in the third quarter against a loss of $24.2m in the same period of 2010, largely because of higher prices for PVC resin and PVC pipe and improved export demand for PVC resin, the company said.

However, while export demand contributed to the division's health, Chao said the US domestic market is still troubled by weakness in the construction market.

"The US vinyls business depends on PVC exports as well as caustic prices to help maintain profitability," he said during the company's third-quarter earnings conference call.

Business in the fourth quarter is expected to be slower than in the third quarter, the company said.

($1 = €0.72)

For more on Westlake, visit ICIS plants and projects

By: Michelle Klump
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