10 September 2013 16:36 [Source: ICIS news]
By Mark Yost
BERLIN (ICIS)--October is shaping up to be the best month of the year for petrochemical makers who supply raw materials to the ?xml:namespace>
Several sources said July was off month across the performance plastics markets, from acrylonitrile (ACN) to nylon to polycarbonate (PC). But automakers have been ramping up demand for product over the past month, building toward October, which is expected to be the single-biggest month of the year for auto production.
Overall, demand was up by 10-15% from July to August, and sources said they expect it to be up another 10% in September.
This is welcome news for many petchem makers. When some saw demand slack off in July, they worried that it was part of a bigger downturn in
"We knew that demand was going to dip in July as the automakers switched over plants to the new models," one source said. "But we weren't sure how strong they were going to come back."
Many economists and market analysts started warning in June that the
"We don't see the long-term market fundamentals -- good job growth, rising wages, high consumer confidence – to sustain this market," one
Some Detroit insiders are also worried that the biggest factor that is driving all-important pickup truck sales now is contractors gearing up for a recovering housing market.
"No one is fully convinced that housing is on its way back," said one source that provides PC to the
But many of those concerns have been put to rest now that automakers have signalled to suppliers that October will be a banner month for the industry. US automakers are expected to introduce more than 20 new models over the next few months.
Viewed more broadly, forecasts at the start of the year put
But as auto sales began to take off in the second quarter, forecasts have slowly risen. The current consensus is for US automakers to produce about 16m vehicles in 2013.
Wherever the final number ends up, automotive is turning out to be a saviour for many petrochemical buyers and sellers.
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