APLA ’11: Consultants see modest growth for petrochemicals

07 November 2011 21:33  [Source: ICIS news]

BUENOS AIRES (ICIS)--Demand across a broad range of the major petrochemical sectors will see modest growth in the near future, according to a consensus among the main Americas consultants speaking at the 31st Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

Brazil’s growth rate of between 3% and 3.5% in recent years is set to stabilise at 4% in the years leading up to 2015, and this will lead to reasonable growth in polymer demand, according to Otavio Carvalho of consultancy Maxiquim.

Demand for resins should grow at slightly above GDP, with those sectors most tied to income doing best and those dependent on credit doing least well, he said.

Latin American polymer prices are set to rise continuously in the years to 2016, Esteban Sagel of consultancy IHS-CMAI said.

There will be no decrease in crude-oil prices and Latin American prices could become competitive in international markets in the next few years, he said.

Shale gas will dominate US energy by 2020 and, consequently, North America will become the second-lowest-cost polyethylene producer in the world by then, Bob Baumann of Polymers Consulting said.

"Shale gas is a global commodity, and what’s good about it is that it’s not in the Middle East," he said.

In the fibre intermediates sector, supplies of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) will become tighter as surplus capacity diminishes and many countries move to maximise other ethylene oxide (EO) derivatives, Philippa Davies of consultancy Tecnon OrbiChem said.

High crude and naphtha prices will force ethylene and MEG prices up in Asia and Europe, she said.

Davies said purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is set to grow at 6%/year and that the weakness of downstream polyester could bring delays and cancellations and encourage rationalisation of older Asian PTA capacity. The rapid expansion of PTA will stretch the capacity of feedstock paraxylene (PX), she said.

The 2011 APLA conference,  in Buenos Aires, ends on Tuesday.

By: Barbara Ortner
+44 20 8652 3214

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