Americas top stories - weekly summary

06 January 2014 15:00  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Americas for the week ended 4 January 2014.

(Please click on the link to read the full text.)

OUTLOOK ’14: US biodiesel uncertain as politics take center stage
The highly politicised US biodiesel industry looks uncertain going into 2014 amid stagnant US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blending mandate proposals and doubt in the sector that the $1/gal federal tax credit will be renewed.

US December barge acetone initially higher, truck increases
The US barge acetone contract has initially settled up, reversing direction for December after three months in a downward slide, sources said.

US December MMA assessed flat on balanced fundamentals
US methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices have settled flat for December, sources confirmed, on soft-but-balanced market conditions despite weaker barge acetone pricing in November.

OUTLOOK ’14: US gasoline prices more influenced by bearish oil
US gasoline prices this year may not reach the highs seen in 2013 as increased production rates and a greater influence from bearish crude oil prices will heavily influence the commodity.

US PS producers revise January price increases upwards
US polystyrene (PS) producers have revised January price increases for all grades of PS upwards to 6 cents/lb ($132/tonne, €97/tonne) effective on 1 January, sources said.

US December PE contracts settle flat
December contracts settled flat in the US polyethylene (PE) market, with stronger domestic demand and more export opportunities keeping prices from falling during the month, sources said.

OUTLOOK ’14: Currency volatility, imports to influence LatAm PE
Polyethylene prices in Latin America have been influenced by many factors such as the cost of raw materials or changes in availability of resins, but the factor that has had the greatest impact in 2013 has been volatility in currency fluctuations, which is expected to continue in 2014.

OUTLOOK ’14: LatAm PP plants could benefit if PDH plants proliferate
Availability of raw materials will continue to be the key for polypropylene (PP) production in Latin America during 2014.

LyondellBasell restarts Texas plant, continuing US methanol boom
LyondellBasell has restarted a Texas methanol unit, the company said. The producer did not specify when the 780,000 tonne/year plant in Channelview began operating or at what rate, but market sources said it began running in mid-late December after a few weeks of stops and starts.

OUTLOOK ’14: US butadiene market at mercy of consumer habits
US butadiene (BD) market players feel that consumer choices and gasoline prices will go a long way toward determining their 2014.

OUTLOOK '14: US SBR expecting slow recovery as tyre demand picks up
While the slow recovery in the replacement tyre market has made the US styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) industry cautious about the outlook for 2014, some believe there is room for optimism with demand slowly picking up as the economy continues to improve.

OUTLOOK ’14: Transformations to spark chemical M&A activity
The global chemical mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market is set to get an extra kick in 2014 as chemical companies become more aggressive on transformations, shedding non-core assets to focus on key growth areas. The financing market for deals is also expected to remain strong, along with buyer interest from both strategic and financial players.

By: Staff Reporter
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