Expandable polystyrene (EPS) and polystyrene (PS)

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A versatile plastic used to make a wide variety of consumer products, expandable polystyrene (EPS) and polystyrene (PS) are integral in industries such as food packaging, appliances, construction, and some niche automotive applications for polystyrene, and for expandable polystyrene construction, white goods packaging, and fish boxes packaging. These industries and more are impacted every day by the dynamics of global and regional PS and EPS markets, as well as developments in the upstream styrene market.

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Expandable polystyrene (EPS) & polystyrene (PS) news

Midstream consolidation continues as US Energy Transfer makes $3.25 billion deal

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Energy Transfer plans to acquire WTG Midstream for $3.25 billion, the latest deal in an ongoing consolidation of the industry that provides feedstocks to chemical plants. Energy Transfer is acquiring WTG from affiliates of Stonepeak, the Davis Estate and Diamondback Energy, it said on Tuesday. The deal should close in Q3 2024. The deal includes eight natural gas processing plants that have a total capacity of 1.3 billion cubic feet/day. Two additional plants are under construction that will add another 400 million cubic feet/day of capacity, with the first starting up in Q3 2024 and the second in Q3 2025. Natural gas processing plants extract ethane and other natural gas liquids (NGLs) from raw gas produced from oil and gas wells. The NGLs are then shipped to fractionators which extract the individual products. Ethane and other NGLs are the main feedstock that US crackers use to make ethylene. The deal also includes a 20% stake in the Belvieu Alternative Natural Gas Liquid (BANGL) pipeline. The BANGL will stretch for 425 miles (683 km) and will have an initial capacity of 125,000 barrels/day, expandable to more than 300,000 barrels/day. It will connect the Permian basin to the fractionation hub in Sweeny, Texas, on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline could be completed in H1 2025. Other partners in the pipeline include MPLX and Rattler Midstream, a company formed by Diamondback Energy. SURGE IN MIDSTREAM M&AEnergy Transfer's acquisition is the latest in a surge of deals in the midstream industry. The following lists some of the more recent mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Phillips 66 agreed to buy Pinnacle Midland Parent from Energy Spectrum Capital for $550 million ONEOK is buying NGL pipelines from Easton Energy for $280 million EQT is acquiring Equitrans Midstream in a deal that the Wall Street Journal valued at $5.5 billion Energy Transfer completed its $7.1 billion merger with Crestwood Equity Partners in November 2023 ONEOK completed its $18.8 billion acquisition of Magellan Midstream Partners in September 2023 Phillips 66 completed a deal for additional units of DCP Midstream, raising its stake to 86.8% The deals come amid a flurry of new projects being built by midstream companies, which includes processing plants, pipelines, fractionators and terminals. When completed, the infrastructure will provide feedstock to petrochemical plants in the US and the world. Thumbnail shows pipeline. Image by Global Warming Images/REX Shutterstock

28-May-2024

Brazil's Braskem restart at Triunfo to kick off petchem hub normalization

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Braskem has restarted operations at its Triunfo facility in the flood-hit state of Rio Grande do Sul, which will allow other players in the petrochemicals hub to start up their plants as many depend on input from the Brazilian polymers major to operate. On Monday (20 May), Braskem said it would restart its units at Triunfo – where the producer has around one-third of its Brazilian production capacity – with the expected process to take around two weeks. A spokesperson for Innova told ICIS that the styrenics producer’s plants at Triunfo were ready to begin operations as soon as Braskem, which supplies Innova with key feedstock benzene, had started up. The spokesperson did not respond to questions about the financial hit Innova would suffer from the Triunfo outage, but said it had been able to its supply customers with material from its other units in Brazil. “For polystyrene [PS], for instance, our Manaus production unit was able to absorb the tonnage previously allocated to Triunfo, so that we could avoid any negative impact on our customers," said the spokesperson. Meanwhile, a source at Innova told ICIS late on Monday that it aims to restart its PS, styrene, and ethyl benzene (EB) plants on 22-23 May. However, due to low production volumes, it would be prioritizing customers in Brazil rather than exporting any material. The restart process, however, may not be without hiccups. A source in Brazil's petrochemicals industry said on Tuesday that highway BR-386, a 525-kilometer road linking Porto Alegre with the interior of the state as well as the south of Santa Catarina state, remains partially blocked. "Drainage is still a problem. The blockage of the BR-386 and the lack of trucks are making distribution very difficult," said the source. "Yesterday [Monday], they managed to dispatch 15 trucks out of Triunfo, while the daily average on normal days stands at around 400 trucks." THE BEGINNING OF THE ENDIn what has become one of Brazil’s worst flooding disasters, the state of Rio Grande do Sul came to a standstill on 29 April with hundreds of roads blocked, widespread landslides and a dam collapse. As of Monday, the floods had caused 157 deaths while another 88 people are unaccounted for, according to Rio Grande do Sul’s emergency services. Over 76,000 people are still taking refuge in shelters, while nearly 600,000 have been displaced from their homes. In the 12-million people state, nearly 2.5 million have been affected by the floods which have badly hurt its economy. Although  petrochemicals plants at Triunfo have not been damaged by the flooding, access to them became almost impossible at the peak of the crisis. This forced companies in the hub to declare force majeure, including Braskem, Innova, and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) producer Arlanxeo. As of Tuesday, none of the force majeures had officially been lifted. Indorama’s subsidiary in Brazil said it was idling its plants, although it has yet to declare force majeure. A spokesperson for Indorama told ICIS that the situation at its plants remains unchanged from last week. Arlanxeo had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. Although petrochemical facilities at Triunfo are restarting, other industrial players are still reeling from the floods with widespread stoppages. Earlier this week, automotive global majors Volkswagen (VW) and Stellantis said they were stopping production at some Brazilian and Argentinian plants due to a lack of input from automotive parts producers in Rio Grande do Sul. Meanwhile, fertilizers players have said to ICIS that demand could be hit, potentially resulting in lower prices as Rio Grande do Sul is also a major agricultural state in Brazil. Analysts at S&P Global said that while petrochemicals producers in the state may be spared from a large financial hit, fertilizers players are likely to be more negatively affected. Front page picture: Braskem's facilities at the Triunfo petrochemicals hub in Rio Grande do Sul Source: Braskem Additional reporting by Bruno Menini

21-May-2024

Volkswagen, Stellantis idle car plants in Brazil, Argentina after floods

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Volkswagen (VW) idled its three plants in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo on Monday, as suppliers in the floods-hit state of Rio Grande do Sul are unable to produce any automotive parts, a spokesperson for the German automotive major told ICIS. At the same time, a spokesperson for Stellantis, another major auto producer, confirmed to ICIS that it had shut down its plant in Ferreyra, in Argentina’s Cordoba province, also due to a lack of input. Rio Grande do Sul is Brazil’s southernmost state and petrochemicals-intensive automotive parts producers there are major suppliers to the rest of Brazil and Argentina. However, the state is still reeling from severe flooding on 29 April which has brought around 90% of industrial activity to a standstill, according to local authorities. VOLKSWAGENVW is using a so-called “collective vacation” clause under Brazilian labor laws to send workers at its plants in Anchieta, Taubate, and Sao Carlos home for at least 10 days. However, a plant operated by VW in Sao Jose dos Pinhais, in the state of Parana, continues to operate normally, VW said. "Volkswagen do Brasil informs that continues with the same preventive vacation position. The situation of parts supply is being monitored minute by minute,” said the spokesperson. The workers at the Anchieta and Taubate plants will start a 10-day collective vacation on Monday, and the workers at the Sao Carlos plant will start an 11-day collective vacation on the same day. 'Collective vacation' is a measure regularly applied by industrial companies to manage production. Brazil’s labor laws normally grant employees around 30 days/year of annual leave. In the industrial sector, as work is a "collective" activity, vacation periods can be organized by the employer for a group of employees, hence the name. STELLANTISIn the meantime, Stellantis – the result of the merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group – told ICIS that it is analyzing whether its other plants in Argentina and Brazil will also need to be shut down. In Cordoba, a province in north Argentina and a major trading partner with Rio Grande do Sul, there are fears that its economy – which is already suffering after the country went into recession – could take a further hit. In Argentina, Stellantis operates another plant in El Palomar, in the Buenos Aires department. In Brazil, its main facilities are in Betim in the state of Minas Gerais. “Stellantis is following with dismay and expresses its solidarity with the victims of the floods in Rio Grande do Sul. The unprecedented impact of the catastrophe has directly affected the logistics system for the transportation and supply of industry components. “The company had to stop production at the Stellantis Automotive Centers in Córdoba, Argentina, and is still analyzing the need for further stoppages at its plants in the region,” said the spokesperson. Both General Motors (GM) and South Korea's Hyundai – who also have production facilities in Brazil – had yet to respond to a request for a comment. A spokesperson for Brazil’s automotive trade group Anfavea did not respond to questions from ICIS about the impact of the floods on the sector's annual output. However, it did say that it would make its first estimates at a press conference on 6 June, when it will publish production, sales and export data for May. Earlier, the trade group said it feared the sector could be hit given Rio Grande do Sul's importance to Brazil's auto industry. INDUSTRY REELS AFTER FLOODSCompanies based in the petrochemicals hub of Triunfo, near Porto Alegre – the biggest city in Rio Grande do Sul – have also shut, mostly as employees are having problems getting to and from work. Companies including Braskem, Innova, and Arlanxeo all declared force majeure from Triunfo in the first week of May. Sources said some of them will try to restart operations this week, although that has not been officially confirmed to ICIS. The automotive industry is a major global consumer of petrochemicals, and chemicals make up more than one-third of the raw material costs for an average vehicle. The automotive sector drives demand for chemicals such as polypropylene (PP), along with nylon, polystyrene (PS), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), polyurethane (PU), methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), among others. Front page picture: Volkswagen's plant in Anchieta, state of Sao Paulo Source: Volkswagen

20-May-2024

Canada rail strike not imminent, rail carriers and union resume talks

TORONTO (ICIS)–A potential freight rail strike in Canada has been delayed because the matter has been referred to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) and collective bargaining resumes today, Friday 17 May. Strike averted, for the time being Industrial board investigates potential strike impacts Rail strike would hit chemical and fertilizer logistics After about 9,300 unionized conductors, train operators and engineers and other workers at freight rail carriers Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) and Canadian National (CN) earlier this month voted for a strike, federal labor minister Seamus O’Regan referred the matter to the CIRB, a quasi-judicial tribunal charged with keeping industrial peace in Canada. The minister wants the board to investigate if disruptions to the supply of products such as heavy fuel, propane, food, and chlorine and other water treatment chemicals could pose safety and health issues, in particular in remote communities. The board could decide that rail shipments of certain goods need to be continued during a strike. The board has called on affected groups and organizations to make submissions on the matter by no later than 21 May. Trade group Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) said it will make a submission about impacts on its industry. It remains unclear how long it will take for the CIRB to reach a decision. After a decision, the union would have to give 72 hours of notice before starting a strike. 22 MAY STRIKE DEADLINE OFF THE TABLE Labor union Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which previously said that a work stoppage could start as early as 22 May, has acknowledged that during the CIRB process there will be no strike. Confusingly, the union on Friday still posted a notice on its website about a possible 22 May work stoppage as an “upcoming event”. A union official did not respond to an ICIS request for comment. Rail carrier CPKC said in a statement that neither a legal strike nor a lockout can occur until the CIRB makes its decision. It added that the referral to the board has created uncertainty about the timing of a potential work stoppage and interruptions of rail service. CPKC, for its part, has proposed to the TCRC a “maintenance of services agreement” under which both parties agree on services that should be maintained in the event of a strike or lockout, it said. “We believe this would eliminate the need for the CIRB referral process and bring much needed clarity regarding the timing of any potential strike or lockout,” it said. If no such agreement is reached, it is unlikely the parties will be in a position to initiate a legal strike or lockout within the next 60 days, CPKC said. A source at a major sulfur exporter told ICIS the referral to the CIRB was a “stall tactic” by the government that delays the risk of a strike, likely until the end of May. IMPACTS ON CHEMICALS AND FERTILIZERS Freight rail work stoppages can quickly affect logistics in the chemical, fertilizer and other industries, and a simultaneous stoppage at Canada’s biggest rail carriers would worsen impacts by far. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail. In the fertilizer industry, about 75% of all fertilizer produced and used in Canada is moved by rail and the industry depends on rail to move product across the country and into international markets. In the run-up to potential strikes, producers need to prepare, longer strikes can force them to shut down plants, and after a strike ends it can take weeks for normal operations to resume. Beyond chemicals and fertilizers, rail strikes affect the overall Canadian manufacturing sector. Trade group Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) has warned that companies could not afford to have their businesses and workers threatened by “a critical supply chain labor disruption”. “More than any other industry, we rely on railways to access critical inputs and bring goods to customers,” CME said in a statement. According to the April purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey by S&P Global, Canadian manufacturing has been weak for the past 12 months. FREIGHT RAIL DATA For the first 19 weeks of 2024, ended 11 May, Canadian chemical railcar loadings rose 3.9% year on year to 262,089, the American Association of Railroads (AAR) reported this week. Total freight rail traffic – comprising railcar loadings and intermodal units – was at 3,064,779 for the first 19 weeks, up 0.9% from the same period in 2023. Focus article by Stefan Baumgarten Additional reporting by Julia Meehan Please also visit Logistics: Impact on chemicals and energy Thumbnail photo source: Canadian National

17-May-2024

Singapore's April petrochemical exports rise 26.5%; NODX down 9.3%

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore's petrochemical shipments rose by 26.5% year on year in April to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.34 billion, reversing the 3.6% decline in the previous month, official data showed on Friday. Overall exports of chemicals and chemical products in April fell by 34.5% year on year to S$3.59 billion, extending the 37% contraction in March, Enterprise Singapore said in a statement. The country's overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell by 9.3% year on year to S$13.9 billion, extending the 20.8% decline in the preceding month. Non-electronic NODX – which includes chemicals and pharmaceuticals – fell by 12.3% year on year to $10.9 billion in April following the 23.2% contraction in March. NODX shipments to the US and EU fell sharply in April, while exports to China rose last month. Singapore is a major manufacturer and exporter of petrochemicals in southeast Asia. Its petrochemicals hub Jurong Island houses more than 100 global chemical firms, including energy majors ExxonMobil and Shell. The drop in the country's NODX in April mirrors weaker manufacturing activity seen during the month. The country’s purchasing managers' index (PMI) slipped to 50.5 in April from 50.7 in March, marking the eighth consecutive month that the reading has remained above the 50 mark, according to data from the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing economy, while a lower number denotes contraction. In a separate survey of private manufacturers, Singapore’s April PMI eased to 52.6 from 55.7 in March, financial information and services provider S&P Global said on 6 May. For the whole of 2024, Singapore's economy is expected to expand by 1.0-3.0%, compared with actual GDP growth of 1.1% growth in 2023, the ministry said. Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

17-May-2024

Brazil’s floods-hit state plastics sector under ‘hypothesis’ operations could normalize end May – trade group

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Plastics producers in Rio Grande do Sul remain shut following the floods but are working under the “hypothesis” operations could normalize by the end of May, a full month after the floods hit the Brazilian state, trade group Abiplast said. As such, they have made calculations for losses in revenue during a month, since 29 April when the floods started until the end of May. According to the trade group, the estimated impact on plastics producers in the state could come up to Brazilian reais (R) 680 million ($132 million), or an estimated daily impact of R$23 million since the floods started on 29 April. Rio Grande do Sul and its petrochemicals hub in Triunfo, near the city of Porto Alegre, is home to 40% of Brazil’s polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) production capacities. Despite the end of May hypothesis, a spokesperson for the trade group conceded that as things stand – with hundreds of roads still blocked and workers unable to turn up for duty – to set a date for restart of operations would be premature, however. “Plastics transformers’ plant have stopped …The [estimated costs would include the] costs of potential renovations and recovery of assets in the areas degraded,” said Abiplast. “The main plastic products could also suffer price increases if there is an increase [in selling prices] by manufacturers.” Several petrochemicals companies based at the Triunfo production hub, near the state’s largest city of Porto Alegre, declared force majeure last week, including Brazil’s polymers major Braskem, Innova and Arlanxeo. Thai major Indorama’s subsidiary in Brazil said to ICIS it had suspended operations. Meanwhile, fertilizers players have said to ICIS demand could be hit considering the state’s prowess within Brazil’s large agricultural sector. Analysts at S&P Global have also said fertilizers could be greatly hit, although they said petrochemicals could be spare from a large impact if the situation normalizes in coming days or weeks, at most. TRIUNFO: KEY TO PLASTICSAccording to figures by Abiplast, Triunfo has production capacities of 740,000 tonnes/year for PP, and of 1.2 million tonnes/year for PE, with a large chunk of that belonging to Braskem, for whom the Triunfo facilities represent 30% of its production capacity in Brazil. Braskem is the sole manufacturer of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Its market shares in 2023 were about 56% and 70%, respectively, according to figures from the ICIS Supply and Demand Database. Brazil’s PP capacity is nearly 2 million tonnes/year, while PE capacity is about 3 million tonnes/year, of which 41% is high density polyethylene (HDPE), 33% is linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and 26% is low density polyethylene (LDPE). The Triunfo complex can produce 740,000 tonnes/year of PP, 550,000 tonnes/year of HDPE, 385,000 tonnes/year of LDPE and 300,000 tonnes/year of LLDPE. The company said last week it was confident it will be able to deliver material from its other sites in the country, but sources have pointed out some of the specialized PE grades are only produced at Triunfo, and feared a hit to supply and increasing prices if the disruption in Rio Grande do Sul prolongs. According to Abiplast, there are 1,428 plastic processing and recycling companies in Rio Grande do Sul, the second largest state in Brazil in number of plastic processing companies, behind Sao Paulo’s 5,200 companies. The state’s plastics sector employs 33,100, added the trade group. Their sales in 2023 stood at R8.2 billion, or 7.1% of the total revenue posted by Brazilian plastics processing industry of R117 billion. The tragedy has consumed the Brazilian government since the second week of the floods – after a rather slow response during the first days. Some analysts have described this as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s ‘Katrina moment’ as a reference to the poor handling of the Hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005 by former President George W Bush. Additional reporting by Bruno Menini Front page picture: A sign in Sao Paulo calling residents to collaborate in the floods relief effort Source: Jonathan Lopez/ICIS 

14-May-2024

Non-OPEC+ crude supply growth to slip in 2025, Latin America to drive non-OECD output – OPEC

LONDON (ICIS)–Increases in crude oil supplies from outside the OPEC+ bloc of countries is expected to decline slightly year on year in 2025, with the US and Canada expected to remain the backbone of OECD production increases and Latin America driving the rest of the world, according to OPEC. The group projects that crude supply growth from countries that are not signed up to the declaration of cooperation (DoC)– encompassing OPEC member states and ally nations that have agreed to coordinated production cuts – will stand at 1.1 million barrels/day next year. Representing a modest decline from the 1.2 million barrel/day production growth OPEC projects for non-DoC nations this year, the 2025 increase is expected to drive total output from the region to 54.1 million barrels/day. The US is expected to drive a substantial proportion of the total production growth expected from non-DoC nations, representing nearly half of the total projected growth at 0.5 million barrels/day, while Canada is expected to increase output by an average of 0.2 million barrels/day. Latin America is expected to be the key source of non-OECD growth excluding OPEC+ countries, with output expected to grow 0.3 million barrels/day next year on average, a slight decline from the 0.4 million barrels/day projected for this year. Interest rates, inflation, geopolitics and reduced investment in exploration and production by oil majors as players seek to clip costs are all serving to cloud the picture on future demand and output, OPEC added. “The anticipated trajectory and pace of inflation's decline, particularly within the services sector, are poised to influence crude oil production costs going forward,” OPEC said in its monthly oil report. “The potential influence of the present limited investment commitment in upstream E&P projected for 2024 and 2025 on production levels remains uncertain amid an ongoing drive for efficiency and enhanced productivity throughout the industry,” the cartel added. The organization left its 2024 non-DoC oil supply, global demand and GDP forecasts unchanged from its April report, at 1.2 million barrels/day, 2.2 million barrels/day and 2.8% respectively. Thumbnail photo: An oil well in Jebel Dukhan, Bahrain. Source: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

14-May-2024

Entire AmSty JV is for sale, not just Trinseo's 50% stake – Trinseo CEO

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The entire Americas Styrenics (AmSty) joint venture (JV) is for sale, and not just Trinseo’s 50% stake, Trinseo CEO Frank Bozich said on Thursday. The company announced in March it started the process to sell its 50% in the styrene and polystyrene (PS) JV with Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem). During Trinseo’s Q1 earnings call on Thursday, Bozich clarified that the entire AmSty was for sale, not just Trinseo’s stake. He added that since the March announcement, Trinseo has seen indications of interest from a number of potential strategic and financial buyers. He did not name potential buyers or say how much money Trinseo expects from the sale. The process of “actively” marketing the JV has not yet started, he said. The JV agreement between Trinseo and CPChem includes a number “prescriptive elements” that need to be completed before a joint marketing of the JV begins, he said. Trinseo expects a deal with a buyer to be signed by early 2025 and will use the proceeds from its share from the sale of AmSty to pay down debt, he added. Trinseo is also trying to sell its wholly owned styrenics assets. The company's other businesses include Latex Binders, Base Plastics and Engineered Materials. Additional reporting by Al Greenwood Thumbnail shows a cup made of polystyrene. (Image by ICIS)

09-May-2024

Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 3 May. NEWS Besieged by imports, Brazil’s chemicals put hopes on hefty import tariffs hike Brazilian chemicals producers are lobbying hard for an increase in import tariffs for key polymers and petrochemicals from 12.6% to 20%, and higher in cases, hoping the hike could slow down the influx of cheap imports, which have put them against the wall. Mexico’s manufacturing slows on weaker exports, Chinese competition Mexico’s manufacturing sectors slowed down slightly in April on the back of tough competition, particularly from China, and weak demand from abroad, which caused a fall in output, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. Brazil’s manufacturing at nearly three-year high on booming demand Brazil's manufacturing sectors continued booming in April on the back of a sharp increase in new business intakes, which led to higher output and job creation, analysts at S&P Global said on Thursday. Mexico increases PET import tariff again in attempt to shield economy In the last week of April, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador introduced an amended version of the Tariff within the General Import and Export Duties Law to enforce import duties, or temporary duties, on products falling under 504 tariff items, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. These new duties will vary from 5% to 50%. Brazil's Braskem Q1 resin sales fall 5% yearly, on prioritizing sales with higher added value Braskem resin sales in its domestic Brazilian market dropped by 5% in Q1, year on year, on the back of prioritizing sales with higher added value in the period, the Brazilian petrochemicals major said on Friday in its quarterly production and sales report. INSIGHT: Six decades on, Brazil’s Unigel founder fights the ultimate battle The founder of Unigel, aged 87, is actively fighting the Brazilian chemicals and fertilizers producer’s most decisive battle, one for its survival, as it tries to restructure its debts, one step away from bankruptcy. PRICING Lat Am PE domestic prices fall in Argentina, Brazil on cheaper imports, soft demand Domestic polyethylene (PE) prices fell in Argentina and Brazil due to competition with cheaper imports and soft demand. In other Latin American countries, prices were unchanged. LatAm PP domestic prices fall in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico on lower feedstock costs, soft demand Domestic polypropylene (PP) prices fell in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico on the back of lower feedstock costs and soft demand.

06-May-2024

Eurozone manufacturing activity dips again in April as order momentum fades

LONDON (ICIS)–Eurozone industrial sector momentum sank further into contraction territory in April, to hit a four-month low as new orders declined by the sharpest rate seen in 2024. The eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for April slumped to 45.7 in April compared with 46.1 in March, a third month of consecutive declines, after jumping to 46.6 in January from 44.4 in December. Driven by still-bearish conditions in Germany, Austria, France and Italy which counterbalanced firmer growth in Greece and Spain, the figure represents the 22nd straight month of recession for the sector. A PMI score of above 50.0 signifies growth. On the plus side, factory output shrank at the slowest rate this year, delivery times shortened during the month and declines in manufacturer operating costs were the most modest seen in 2024. Released on Thursday by S&P Global, the data is in line with recent reports from the UK and the US, showing that manufacturing activity in both economies sank back into contraction territory last month. For the UK and US, March was the first month of tentative expansion in months, but since then demand in the US has softened and the Red Sea crisis has exacerbated declining output, new orders, employment and stocks of purchases in the UK. What is going to rescue the eurozone economy? Although it is a difficult question, one thing is clear: It’s not the manufacturing sector,” said Hamburg Commercial Bank chief economist Cyrus de la Rubia. “A plethora of evidence highlights the stark absence of demand, as evidenced by a rapid decline in new orders, unmatched in speed over the past four months and devoid of international support,” he added, noting that current conditions “portends a postponement of any semblance of recovery.” Thumbnail photo source: Photo source: Ying Tang/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

02-May-2024

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