APLA '19: Brazil’s Unigel sees challenges ahead for PS markets

Author: George Martin

2019/11/11

BUENOS AIRES (ICIS)--Unigel, one of two polystyrene producers in Brazil, sees challenges ahead despite increased demand over the previous year.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA), Marcelo Natal, Commercial Director of Styrenics for Unigel, described some of the challenges facing his company in Brazil.

Although demand is nearly 10% above last year’s figures, production margins have declined for most products in a competitive environment.

Brazil is recovering from years of negative GDP growth and appears to be in the right path, but international markets are in disarray, and this brings additional challenges for exports.

Another factor is the proliferation of anti-plastics regulations and increased substitution practices that threaten PS markets everywhere.

Sales of expandable polystyrene (EPS) are doing fine, and the white line (appliances) has been recovering of late as the country pulls out of its recession, but sales of disposables have been lacking, despite favourable seasonality factors.

The country is also facing currency depreciation that forces unpopular price adjustments. Prices are steady in November, so far.

1146A596CD5C5ED1B00F5DE39C884948.jpgPS prices in Brazil have declined in the past year, in part due to currency depreciation.

The 39th APLA annual meeting takes place 9-12 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.