Americas top stories: weekly summary

19 September 2016 15:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Americas for the week ended 18 September 2016.

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US spot benzene lower on supply, upstream
US spot benzene prices on Friday were lower amid a quiet market, weaker upstream values and expectations that benzene supply would improve. Benzene has been under pressure from limited imports since June. According to the US International Trade Commission (ITC), import levels in July were down slightly from June levels.

Venezuela's polymer problems reshuffle
Venezuela’s production of polystyrene (PS) is expected to re-start soon, at the same time, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) production problems continue because of raw materials issues. PS production at the Gupo Phoenix plant Estizulia, in Zulia state, was to resume once a cargo loaded with styrene monomer arrives.

Canada-EU trade deal remains controversial
The pending Canada-EU free-trade deal remains controversial on both side of the Atlantic despite renewed support from German chemical industry and Canadian government officials. Negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) were finalised in August 2014, but the deal has yet to be ratified. CETA is often described as template for the stalled US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

US epoxy resin market facing feedstock pressure
The US domestic epoxy resin market is facing upward pressure from feedstocks, but long supply is pushing back down. While September contracts are expected to roll over, sources said US producers are pushing for increases in October.

Sasol/INEOS US HDPE plant set for early 2017
The Sasol/INEOS high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant being built near Houston in La Porte, Texas, will be ready for startup in early 2017, Sasol says. The 470,000 tonne/year unit, called the Gemini JV, would mark the third new North American PE plant to open in less than a year.

US Sep SBR contracts rise on higher feedstock costs
US styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) contracts for September were assessed at increases, following the higher settlement of main feedstock butadiene (BD). The SBR contract hikes were further supported by earlier increases in July settlements for other feedstock styrene.

Ford to move all US small vehicle production to Mexico
Ford Motor is moving all small-car production from US plants to lower-cost Mexico over the next two to three years, CEO Mark Fields said during an investor conference. Earlier this year, Ford said it would invest $1.6bn in Mexico for small-car production to start in 2018.

US Flint Hills JV starts up new biodiesel plant
A joint venture made up of Flint Hills Resources and Benefuel started up a biodiesel plant that uses a new technology based on lower-cost feedstock. The Duonix Beatrice plant is in Beatrice, Nebraska, and it will have a capacity of 50m gal/year (189m litres/year), the companies said. It will also produce glycerine as a by-product.

US Enterprise Products files lawsuit over PDH project delays
US midstream energy major Enterprise Products has filed a lawsuit against petrochemicals engineer Amec Foster Wheeler over alleged delays and cost overruns at a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) project at the natural gas liquids (NGL) hub in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Amec, which signed a contract with Enterprise in 2013 covering the PDH’s engineering, procurement and construction activities, said that it would "vigorously defend" itself against Enterprise’s claims.

Japan's Teijin to acquire US-based CSP for $825m
Japanese producer Teijin is acquiring US-based automotive composite supplier Continental Structural Plastics Holdings Corporation (CSP) for $825m. The acquisition is scheduled to be completed in December. CSP produces thermoset composites for the automotive industry and is the world’s largest sheet moulding compound (SMC) manufacturer for automakers.

By Staff Reporter