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USDA calling for smaller ending corn stocks in April WASDE

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is calling for smaller ending corn stocks, while for soybeans it is forecasting higher ending supply, according to the April World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. For the corn outlook the monthly update is projecting not only the lower amount of ending stocks but also greater usage of the crop for ethanol and feed and residual use. Corn used for ethanol is being raised by 25 million bushels to stand at 5.4 billion bushels based on data through February from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report and weekly ethanol production data as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Feed and residual use is also being increased by 25 million bushels to 5.7 billion bushels based on indicated disappearance during the December-February quarter. With no supply changes and use rising, the WASDE said ending stocks are now projected lowered by 50 million bushels to 2.1 billion bushels. The USDA said season-average farm price received by producers is now down by 5 cents to $4.70 per bushel. For soybeans, the outlook for supply and use not only expects higher ending stocks but also lower imports, residual use and exports. The monthly update said the soybean trade is being reduced on the pace seen to date and expectations for future shipments. With the trade changes and slightly lower residual, soybean ending stocks are raised by 25 million bushels to 340 million bushels. The agency said the season-average soybean price is now forecasted lower by 10 cents to $12.55 per bushel. The next WASDE report will be released on 10 May.


Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 5 April. NEWS Mexico’s automotive output falls nearly 13% in March Mexico’s automotive sector output fell by 12.75% in March, month on month, to just over 300,000 units, the country’s statistical office Inegi said on Wednesday. Sanitation framework, nascent LatAm lithium industry keeping Brazil’s chloralkali afloat – Abiclor Brazil’s chlorine and caustic soda sectors have kept afloat in better health than the wider chemicals industry as sanitation plans and new lithium exploitations across Latin America keep demand high, according to the director general at the country’s trade group Abiclor. Brazil’s chemicals, industrial output falls in February Brazil’s chemicals output fell in February by 3.5%, month on month, one of the largest falls among the subsectors measured, the country’s statistical office IBGE said on Wednesday. Petrobras ‘proactively’ engaging with Federal auditor about tolling contract with Unigel Petrobras continues to “clarify in a timely manner” all the information requested by the Federal auditor regarding its tolling contract with Unigel, a spokesperson for the Brazilian energy major said to ICIS on Tuesday. Brazil’s Unigel postpones Q4 results amid debt restructuring Unigel has postponed the publication of its Q4 and 2023 financial results as its debt restructuring is ongoing, the Brazilian chemicals and fertilizers producer said on Tuesday. MOVES: Brazil’s Unipar appoints Alexandre Jerussalmy as CFO Unipar has appointed Alexandre Jerussalmy as CFO and investor relations officer, effective immediately, the Brazilian chemicals producer said on Tuesday. Colombia’s manufacturing slows down in March on lower sales Colombia’s manufacturing output growth slowed down in March on the back of lower sales, although it marked its third month in expansion territory, analysts at S&P Global said on Monday. Brazil's manufacturing March output healthy on new orders, fueling job creation Brazil’s manufacturing continued expanding at pace in March on the back of a healthy new order book, prompting firms to increase workforces, S&P Global said on Monday. Mexico’s manufacturing steady in March but subdued US demand causes concern Mexico’s manufacturing output stayed stable in March but firms are getting increasingly worried about lower demand from the US, the key market for the country’s export-intensive manufacturers, analysts at S&P Global said on Monday. PRICING Lat Am PP domestic prices down in Argentina, Mexico on lower US PGP spot prices, weak demand Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices dropped in Argentina and Mexico on the back of lower US spot propylene prices and weak demand. In other Latin American countries, prices remained steady. LatAm PE international prices steady to lower on lower US export offers International polyethylene (PE) prices were assessed as steady to lower on the back of lower US export offers. Ethanol prices in Brazil experiencing surges during April The prices of hydrous ethanol surged during the initial week of April, propelled by consistent strong sales in Brazil. Unigel to raise PS April prices in Brazil Unigel is seeking an 11% price increase on all grades of polystyrene (PS) sold in Brazil starting on 1 April, according to a customer letter. Innova seeks April PS price increase in Brazil Innova is seeking a real (R) 1,000/tonne ($200/tonne) price increase, excluding local taxes, on all grades of polystyrene (PS) sold in Brazil starting on 1 April, according to a customer letter.


LOGISTICS: No impact yet on shipping rates after Baltimore bridge collapse; Asia-US container rates fall further

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is wreaking havoc on logistics and freight movements in the immediate region, but the incident has yet to have any impact on shipping rates, and costs for shipping containers from Asia to the US continue to fall, highlighting this week’s logistics roundup. PORT OF BALTIMORE The Port of Baltimore remains closed to all vessel traffic following the bridge collapse early Tuesday morning. The unified command (UC) said on-scene crews continue to assess and monitor for spilled oils and hazardous substances to prevent further discharge or release into the marine environment as 14 containers on the Dali that were holding hazardous materials were impacted during the collision. The chemical components assessed were soap products, perfume products, or not otherwise specified resins, the UC said. Salvage efforts have begun but will take some time and according to the local US Coast Guard authorities the port is officially closed for the near future. Some of the chemical products most likely impacted are caustic soda, veg oil, base oils, ethanol, biodiesel and a variety of others. South African producer Sasol told ICIS that a terminal inside the port with the company’s name has not been used by the company since it opened its major facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Specialty chemical producer WR Grace has a terminal in the port, according to a map of the port on the Maryland state government’s website. The company did not immediately respond on Friday to questions about the terminal. The port is one of the largest in the US for auto imports and exports. Global shipping major MSC is advising customers that passage to and from the port will not be established “for weeks if not months”. Containers already on the water will be rerouted and discharged at an alternate port where they will be made available for pick-up upon completion of the usual import documentary procedure, MSC said. Customers with containers at the origin, whether gated in or booked but not yet gated, need to contact the origin booking office immediately to decide whether they wish for the cargo to be carried to the alternate ports in the US. Judah Levine, head of research at online freight shipping marketplace and platform provider Freightos, said more vessels arriving at alternative ports, or longer port calls as vessels offload more containers, could cause some congestion at those ports, meaning delays for shippers. “But ocean freight is now in its slow season between Lunar New Year and peak season that typically starts in June or July,” Levine said. “And at the moment there is no significant congestion at any of the major East Coast ports.” CONTAINER RATES FALL FURTHER Average global rates for shipping containers continue to fall after surging in December when Houthi rebels began attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Shippers began to divert away from the Suez Canal because of the attacks, which added days and sometimes weeks to traditional trade routes and tightened available capacity. Shippers brought all floating capacity online, increased sailing speeds and brought into service newbuilds to help alleviate the situation. Softer overall demand also helped ease stressed supply chains. Average rates and rates from Shanghai to the US and Europe have fallen steadily since the first of the year according to supply chain advisors Drewry and as shown in the following charts. Levine said the Baltimore closure could put some upward pressure on rates but that he expects it would be temporary. Container ships and costs for shipping containers are relevant to the chemical industry because while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are shipped in pellets. They also transport liquid chemicals in isotanks. LIQUID TANKER RATES STEADY While many tanker shipping routes from the Americas remained subdued with no significant price changes, the Transatlantic eastbound route remains firm as there continues to be a lot of interest seen in the market this week, although space remains tight. On the bunker side, fuel prices have been steadily decreasing as well on the back of softer energy prices; however, week over week remain relatively mixed. PANAMA CANAL Wait times for non-booked vessels ready for transit edged higher this week, according to the PCA's vessel tracker and as shown in the following image. Wait times last week were 1.2 days for northbound traffic and 1.4 days for southbound traffic. Additional reporting by Kevin Callahan Thumbnail image shows the Dali and the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, from


Dow, ExxonMobil among chems picked in US $6 billion CO2 cutting program

HOUSTON (ICIS)–A $6 billion industrial decarbonization program by the US will fund many chemical projects being developed by Dow, ExxonMobil and other companies, featuring projects as diverse as using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock, recycling plastic and burning hydrogen as a fuel, the Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday. The following describes the seven chemical projects chosen by the US. ExxonMobil is developing the Baytown Olefins Plant Carbon Reduction Project in Texas. The project will use new burner technologies to combust hydrogen instead of natural gas for ethylene production. The project should cut more 2.5 million tonnes/year of carbon emissions, or more than 50% of the cracker's total emissions. The project will receive up to $331.9 million from the government. A subsidiary of Orsted plans to build a 300,000 tonne/year e-methanol plant on the Gulf Coast in Texas. The subsidiary, Orsted P2X US Holding, expects the e-methanol will be used as fuel for marine shipping and transportation. E-methanol is made with CO2 with green hydrogen. Orsted is already developing such a project in Sweden. The Texas project will receive up to $100 million from the government. BASF plans to develop a project in Freeport, Texas, that will convert liquid byproducts into synthesis gas (syngas) using plasma gasification and renewable power. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO). BASF will use the syngas as feedstock for its operations in Freeport. The project will receive up to $75 million from the government. LanzaTech and T.EN Stone & Webster Process Technology plan to develop a project on the US Gulf Coast that will capture CO2 emissions from crackers. It will then use green hydrogen and a biotech-based process to convert the captured CO2 into ethanol and ethylene. LanzaTech has developed strains of bacteria that ferment CO2 using hydrogen as an energy source. The name of the project is Sustainable Ethylene from CO2 Utilization with Renewable Energy (SECURE), and it will receive up to $200 million from the government. Ashland's subsidiary, ISP Chemicals, plans to replace natural gas boilers with electric heat delivered by a thermal battery at its plant in Calvert City, Kentucky. Other partners in the project include the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Electrified Thermal Solutions (ETS), which is supplying its Joule Hive system. The project will receive up to $35.2 million from the government. Dow's project will be developed on the US Gulf Coast and it will capture up to 100,000 tonnes/year of CO2 from ethylene oxide (EO) production. The project will then use the CO2 to produce chemicals used in electrolyte solutions to make domestic lithium-ion batteries. The project will receive up to $95 million from the government. Eastman is building a chemical recycling plant in Longview, Texas, that will use its methanolysis technology to break down waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol (MEG). The plant plans to use thermal energy storage combined with on-site solar power to reduce the carbon intensity of its process heating operations. It will receive up to $375 million from the government. DETAILS ABOUT THE US PROGRAMThe US expects the program will cut more than 14 million tonnes/year of emissions of CO2 from 33 projects. On average, each of the projects will cut carbon emissions by 77%. Out of the $6 billion, $489 million will come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and $5.47 billion will come from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The fund will target the following: Seven chemical and refining projects. Six cement and concrete projects. Six iron and steel projects. Five aluminium and metals projects. Three food and beverage projects. Three glass projects. Two process heat-focused projects. One pulp and paper project.


Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 22 March. NEWS AFPM ’24: LatAm petchems brace for slow path to recovery with all eyes on ChinaThe petrochemicals downturn in Latin America is likely to be the longest ever as Chinese and global overcapacities dampen prices in the world’s quintessential “price taker” region for chemicals. Brazil’s Braskem losses widen in 2023 on poor polymers markets Losses at Braskem widened further in 2023 to more than $900 million on the back of poor market dynamics in polymers, the Brazilian petrochemicals major said late on Monday. Brazil’s Braskem pushes polymers recovery to 2026 despite some green shoots Braskem’s said on Tuesday a recovery in polymers prices in earnest will now only take place from 2026, with the Brazilian petrochemicals major posting again a poor set financial result. Argentina’s manufacturing down 6% in Q4, sector hardest hit amid GDP contraction Argentina’s petrochemicals-intensive manufacturing output fell by 6% in the fourth quarter, year on year, making the sector hardest hit by the recession, the country’s statistical office Indec said on Wednesday. Mexico’s central bank joins monetary policy easing, cuts rates to 11% Mexico’s central bank cut this week the main interest rate benchmark by 25 basis points to 11%, finally joining other Latin American central banks in easing borrowing costs as inflation has fallen consistently. Brazil's central bank cuts interest rates to 10.75% Brazil’s central bank cut again this week the main interest rate benchmark, the Selic, by 50 basis points to 10.75%. Brazil’s farmers import 40% more urea in February before end of season In Brazil, urea imports in February were at 490,328 tonnes, up 40% from 349,452 tonnes in February 2023 as farmers stepped up purchases ahead of the close of the season, according to customs data. PRICING AFPM ’24: LatAm PE margins remain squeezed on imports Polyethylene (PE) imports are expected to remain high throughout Latin America during the second quarter, with deliveries from the US to continue dominating. AFPM ’24: Latin America PP demand still in doldrums, supply ample on high imports Latin America polypropylene (PP) supply is to remain sufficient in coming months due to lackluster demand, with a high level of imports still the predominant feature. AFPM ’24: LatAm PS supply to remain ample; demand to drop due to seasonality Latin America’s polystyrene (PS) supply is to remain ample as demand continues to be weak. Ethanol prices rise amidst stable supply and demand in Brazil Prices for hydrous ethanol were assessed higher this week, with stable supply and demand across the country.


Europe top stories: weekly summary

LONDON (ICIS)–Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Europe for the week ended 22 March. Much improved outlook from manufacturers in Germany The business climate for manufacturing in Germany improved markedly in March, the Munich-based ifo Institute said on Friday, with its latest survey results supporting wider views on an improving economy. Eurozone private sector moves closer to stability in March, UK firms The eurozone private sector came close to stabilising this month, driven by a more pronounced return to growth footing for services, but the disparity between a stronger southern Europe and ongoing weakness in France and Germany continued. INSIGHT: SAF catalyst technology could also boost biochemicals production Catalyst technology used to power the first transatlantic flight conducted by a commercial airline which used 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), could also have applications in chemicals production if a market can be developed to allow for commercial scale up. INEOS to end ethanol production at Grangemouth in Q1 2025 Slowing demand and cheap imports were cited as the key reasons why INEOS decided to halt production of synthetic ethanol at its Grangemouth site in the UK in Q1 2025. Europe PE/PP contracts settle up from February, sentiment noticeably weaker In Europe, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) contracts for March have settled up from February and above the monomer, although sentiment has weakened.


AFPM '24: INSIGHT: Biden ending term with regulatory bang for US chems

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The administration of US President Joe Biden is proposing a wave of regulations before its term ends in 2025, many of which will increase costs for chemical companies in the US and persist even if the nation elects a new president later this year. The prospect of such consequential policies comes as delegates head into this year's International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). Changes to the Clean Waters Act, the Risk Management Program (RMP) and the Hazard Communication Standard are among the most consequential policies being considered by US regulators. Electric vehicles (EVs) could receive more support from federal and state governments. This would increase demand for plastics used in EVs while discouraging refiners from making further investments, which could limit US production of benzene, toluene and mixed xylenes (MX). The failure of Congress to re-authorize the nation's chemical site security program could spell its end. REGULATORY PUSH DURING ELECTION YEARSuch a regulatory push by the Biden administration was flagged last year by the Alliance for Chemical Distribution (ACD), the new name for the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). The group was not crying wolf. The next nine months could rank among the worst for the chemical industry in terms of regulatory change and potential issues, said Eric Byer, president of the ACD. "Whatever it's going to be, it will come done fairly aggressively." The Biden administration has proposed several consequential policies. For the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing new requirements, which will require chemical producers and other companies to develop plans to address the worst possible discharge from their plants. The ACD warned that the new requirement would raise compliance costs while doing little to reduce the already small number of discharges by plants. The final rule is scheduled to be published in April 2024. For the RMP, changes could require chemical companies to share information that has been off limits since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The concern is that the information will fall into the wrong hands, while significantly increasing costs to comply with the new requirements, according to the ACD. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is introducing changes to its Hazard Communication Standard that could create more burdens for companies. The ACD warned that some of the changes will increase costs without providing a commensurate improvement in safety. The EPA has started the multiyear process that, under the regulator's current whole-chemical approach, will lead to restrictions imposed on vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), acrylonitrile (ACN) and aniline, a chemical used to make methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). This is being done through the nation's main chemical safety program, known as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). MORE POLICIES PROPOSED FOR EVsThe Biden administration is proposing additional polices to encourage the adoption of EVs. For chemical producers, more EVs would increase demand for plastics, resins and thermal management fluids that are designed to meet the material challenges of these automobiles. At the same time, the push towards EVs could limit sales of automobiles powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs), lowering demand for gasoline and diesel. Refiners could decide to shut down and repurpose their complexes if they expect demand for their main products will stop growing or decline. That would lower production of aromatics and other refinery chemicals and refined products. The Biden administration is moving on three fronts to encourage EV sales. The EPA is expected to decide if California can adopt its Advanced Clean Car II (ACC II), which would phase out the sale of ICE-based vehicles to 2035. If the EPA grants California's request, that would trigger similar programs in several other states. The EPA's light-duty vehicle proposal would impose stricter standards on tail pipe emissions. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing stricter efficiency standards under its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. The AFPM opposes these measures. It said the EPA's light-duty vehicle proposal and DOT's new CAFE standards are so demanding, it would force automobile companies to produce a lot more EVs, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles to meet the more ambitious requirements. LAX OVERSIGHT OF SHIPPING RATES IN WAKE OF HOUTHISThe ACD raised concerns that the US is not doing enough to address the possibility that shipping rates and delays have increased beyond what could be justified by the disruptions caused by the drought in Panama and by the Houthi attacks on vessels passing through the Red Sea to the Suez Canal. The ACD accepts that costs will rise, but it expressed concerns that shipping companies could be taking advantage of the situation by charging excessive rates on routes unaffected by the disruptions. These include routes from India and China to the western coast of the US, Byer said. "Why are you jacking up the price two or threefold?" LABOR NEGOTIATIONS FOR US EAST COASTThe work contract will expire this year for dockworkers and ports along the East Coast of the US. Byer warned of a possible strike if the talks become too contentious. On the West Coast, dockworkers and ports reached an agreement on a six-year work contract. CFATS ON LIFE SUPPORTByer expressed concerns about the future of the main chemical-site security program, called the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS). CFATS is overseen by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which is under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CISA lost authority to implement CFATS on 28 July 2023, when a bill that would have re-authorized it was blocked from going to a vote in the Senate. Without CFATS, other federal and state agencies could create their own chemical-site security regulations. This process has already started in the US state of Nebraska, where State Senator Eliot Bostar introduced LB1048. Other nearby states in the plains could introduce similar bills, because they tend to follow each other's lead, Byer said. Many of these state legislatures should wrap up sessions in the next couple of months, so lawmakers still have time to propose chemical-site security bills. The ACD is most concerned about larger states creating chemical-site security programs, such as California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. SENATE RAIL BILL REMAINS PENDINGA Senate rail safety bill has been pending for more than a year after a bipartisan group of legislators introduced it following the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Congress has about 10 months to approve the bill before it lapses, Byer said. For bills in general, action during an election year could happen around the Memorial Day holiday in May, the 4 July recess, the August recess or before the end of September. After September, legislators will be focused on campaigning for the 5 November election. TEXAS BRINGS BACK TAX BREAKS FOR INDUSTRIAL PROJECTSTexas has revived a program that granted tax breaks to new chemical plants and other large industrial projects. The new program is called the Texas Jobs and Security Act, and it replaced the lapsed Chapter 313 School Value Limitation Agreement. The old program was popular with chemical companies, and their applications were among the first public disclosures of their expansion plans. The new program has already attracted applicants. Summit Next Gen is considering a plant that would convert 450 million gal/year of ethanol into 256 million gal/year of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Hosted by the AFPM, the IPC takes place on March 24-26. Insight article by Al Greenwood Thumbnail shows a federal building. Image by Lucky-photographer


Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 23 February. NEWS Argentina manufacturing output falls 12% in December Argentina’s recession is hitting the petrochemicals-intensive manufacturing sectors hard, with output down 11.9% in December, year on year, the country’s statistics body Indec said late on Thursday. Mexico’s secondary activities output up 1.2% year on year in December Output in Mexico’s petrochemicals-intensive secondary activities rose in December by 1.2%, year on year, the country’s statistics office Inegi said this week. Pause in PVC projects ‘prudent’ until prices rise to $1,200/tonne – Orbia CEO Depressed global polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices prompted Orbia to take the “prudent” decision to put new projects on hold, the CEO of the Mexican chemical producer said on Thursday. Petrochemicals margins could worsen in 2024 – Mexico’s Alpek Mexican chemicals producer Alpek’s stock was falling more than 3% on Wednesday afternoon after the company issued a downbeat guidance for 2024 in which petrochemicals margins could worsen from the already weak 2023 averages. Brazil's Braskem Q4 main chemicals, resins sales fall on lower demand Braskem’s main chemicals and resins sales in its domestic market fell by 15% and 9%, respectively, in the fourth quarter, year on year, on the back of persistent poor demand, the Brazilian petrochemicals major said this week. Brazil’s Unigel gets green light from creditors for debt restructuring Unigel has agreed a Brazilian reais (R) 3.9 billion ($791 million) debt restructuring with its creditors, which has saved the beleaguered styrenics, acrylics and fertilizer producer from filing for bankruptcy for the time being. US Stepan recovering LatAm surfactants market share, margins – CEO Stepan is recovering its share in the Latin American surfactants market following supply chain disruptions in the second half of 2022, Scott Behrens, CEO of the US-based company, said on Tuesday. PRICINGLat Am PP domestic prices fall in Colombia on cheaper imports Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices were down in Colombia due to more competitive prices for imported products. In other Latin American countries, prices were steady. Lat Am PE buyers on the sidelines waiting for March prices Domestic, international polyethylene (PE) prices were assessed unchanged this week across Latin American countries. Mexico PET industry expecting stable sales during the upcoming peak bottle season Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) prices in Mexico held steady this week, with weak demand and ample supply in February. Brazil ethanol sales continue to face positive results in 2024 According to Unica, Brazil's ethanol sales grew by 38.22% in January over the same time frame in 2023. With this achievement, sales volume has surpassed its highest point since October 2020.


Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 2 February. NEWSChile’s manufacturing output down 2.3% in December, central bank cuts rates 100 basis points Chile’s central bank interest rate cut this week by one percentage point to 7.25% may have been a welcome move by manufacturing companies, whose output fell 2.3% in December on the back of poor demand. Colombia manufacturing output booms in January on improved demand Manufacturing output in Colombia posted a strong recovery in January on the back of healthy new orders that prompted firms to expand production and employee count, S&P Global said this week. Mexico’s manufacturing output flirts with contraction in January Mexico’s manufacturing PMI index slipped back into contraction in January as overall output fell on downward pressure on new orders, business closures, unfavorable weather, and demand weakness, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. Brazil’s manufacturing output jumps in January to year-and-a-half high Brazilian manufacturing output jumped in January on the back of new orders which fuelled the largest expansion in production volumes since mid-2022, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. Colombia central bank cuts interest rates by quarter-point to 12.75% Colombia’s Banco de la Republica cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 12.75% late on Wednesday. It was the second cut in interest rates since the central bank started to ease monetary policy in December. Brazil’s central bank cuts rates by 50 basis points to 11.25% The Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) on 31 January cut the main interest rate benchmark, the Selic, by half a percentage point to 11.25%. Mexico’s GDP up 3.1% in 2023, nearshoring fuels growth Mexico’s GDP grew 3.1% in 2023, year on year, confirming a resounding year for manufacturing on the back of nearshoring and services, which has fully recovered from the pandemic, the country’s statistical office Inegi said on Tuesday. Argentina’s peso devaluation too deep, too early while economy enters ‘profound recession’ – economist The new Argentinian government’s peso devaluation in December came too early and was too deep, not helping reduce the gap between the official peso rate the unofficial ‘blue dollar’ and probably fueling inflation further, according to the director at Buenos Aires-headquartered Fundacion Capital. PRICINGLatAm PE domestic prices rise in Brazil, Mexico on higher international prices, margin pressure Domestic polyethylene (PE) prices rose in Brazil and Mexico due to margin pressure and higher international prices. In other Latin American (LatAm) countries, prices were unchanged. LatAm PP prices higher in Brazil, Chile and Mexico on higher feedstock costs, margin pressure Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices increased in Brazil due to margin pressure. Prices in Chile and Mexico rose, pushed mainly by feedstock costs. In other Latin American (LatAm) countries, prices remained flat. Unigel to raise PS February prices in Brazil Unigel is seeking a 17% price increase on all grades of polystyrene (PS) sold in Brazil starting on 1 February, according to a customer letter. Sustained ethanol demand continues due to favorable fuel parity in Brazil The current fuel parity in Brazil continues to favor ethanol over gasoline, standing at a rate of 67%, as reported by market sources. Higher PET prices in Colombia and Chile at the end of January Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) prices in Colombia and Chile are firm based on market input, and demand is relatively stable with good spot availability in both countries. The recent fluctuation in prices is in line with international benchmark market trends this month.


Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 26 January. NEWSBrazil’s new $61bn industrial policy to prop up beleaguered chemicals – Abiquim The Brazilian government’s new 10-year industrial policy plan will help create the conditions for the “survival and resumption” of growth for beleaguered chemicals producers in the country, according to trade group Abiquim. General Motors, China’s BYD to invest over $2.0bn in EVs at Brazilian facilities General Motors is to invest Brazilian reais (R) 7.0bn ($1.4bn) in 2024-2028 at its facilities in the country to implement a “complete renewal” of its vehicle portfolio focusing on production of electric vehicles (EVs), the US automotive major said this week. Mexico’s secondary activities output up 3% in November Output in Mexico’s petrochemicals-intensive secondary activities rose by 3.0% in November, year on year, the country’s statistics office Inegi said this week. Argentina’s manufacturing output falls 5% in November Argentina’s petrochemicals-manufacturing output fell by 4.8% in November, year on year, the country’s statistics agency Indec said this week. Chile’s manufacturing producer prices fall in December but wider economic picture improves Producer prices in Chile’s petrochemicals-intensive manufacturing sectors fell 2.9% in December, year on year, the country’s statics office INE said on Wednesday. Acelen Renewables picks tech for SAF/HVO project in Brazil Acelen Renewables, a renewable energy company owned by the UAE's Mubadala Capital, has chosen Honeywell’s Ecofining technology for a 20,000 bbl/day sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)/hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) project in Bahia, Brazil, officials said on Wednesday. Brazil’s Petrobras RNEST refinery expansion to start up in Q1 2025 Petrobras will start up its expansion at the Abreu e Lima (RNEST) refinery in the first quarter of 2025, the Brazilian state-owned energy major said. Brazil’s chemical imports relentless growth pushes 2023 deficit to $47.0bn Brazilian companies imported in 2023 chemicals worth $61.2bn, the second-highest figure for nearly 35 years, pushing the sector's trade deficit to $46.6bn, chemicals trade group Abiquim said on Monday. PRICINGLatAm PP prices rise in Chile, Mexico because of expensive import offers, higher feedstock costs Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices rose in Chile, tracking higher international prices, while in Mexico prices increased due to higher feedstock costs. In other Latin American countries, prices were unchanged. LatAm PE domestic prices increase in Chile, Colombia, Mexico on higher import offers Domestic polyethylene (PE) prices increased in Chile, Colombia and Mexico on the back of higher import offers. In other Latin American countries, prices were unchanged. Brazil imports for caustic soda decrease in 2023 The ICIS Supply and Demand database shows that Brazil experienced a decline in caustic soda imports in December compared to the same period in 2022. Brazil base oil demand down in December as output begins to grow Brazil’s lube demand fell in December for the first time in eight months, adding to a slowdown in consumption throughout the Latin American market. Slower lube consumption coincided with the prospect of a recovery in Brazil’s domestic base oils production early this year. Brazil ethanol prices increasing in January Prices for hydrous ethanol were assessed higher this week, and demand is stable with good supply availability in January.


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