Americas top stories: weekly summary

12 September 2016 15:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Americas for the week ended 11 September 2016.

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LyondellBasell's new HDPE plant to be located in Texas
US chemicals major LyondellBasell said its planned 500,000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant will be located at its complex in La Porte, Texas. The plant's construction will start early in 2017 and will start up in 2019, said LyondellBasell.

Dow begins cracker turnaround in Louisiana
US-based Dow Chemical began its planned maintenance turnaround at its Plaquemine 3 cracker in Louisiana. The maintenance turnaround is expected to last for 60 days, sources said. The turnaround was originally scheduled for earlier in the year.

Spot ethylene closes week down despite tightness
US ethylene spot prices moved down during the week ended Friday, despite continued tight supply and higher feedstock costs. Prices closed the week down an average of 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne) as trading activity thinned in the second half of the week. Sources said supply remains tight, especially on news that Dow Chemical began its planned maintenance turnaround at its Plaquemine 3 cracker in Louisiana.

PS price increases appear to be going through
The recently announced 3 cents/lb price increases in the US polystyrene (PS) market appear to be going into effect, a cross section of the domestic market said. The four largest North American PS producers separately announced price increases of 3 cents/lb effective 1 September for all grades of general purpose, or crystal PS (GPPS), and high impact PS (HIPS). With the upward movement of feedstock costs and supply tightness, the increase had a lot of momentum, a producer said.

Spot benzene falls on rising supply
US spot benzene prices on Friday were lower amid improving sentiment for domestic production. Prices were higher most of the week, bolstered by upstream markets. However, gains were limited by expectations of increased on-purpose benzene production rates and benzene values dropped late in the week as upstream markets weakened.

Global chloralkali demand to remain subdued - consultant
The global chloralkali market has seen “enthusiastic overbuilding” in the past three years and is likely to remain subdued in the coming years, according to industry consultant David Hughes, senior vice president of International Echem. However, caustic soda and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant operating rates continue to be depressed, he said at the 9th ICIS World Chemical Purchasing Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

Styrene contract, spot prices firm for August
US styrene contracts for August settled at an average increase of 1 cent/lb, market participants said on Friday. The August increase was on the heels of strong export volumes in July and higher upstream benzene contract prices for August. The styrene market settles its contracts one month in arrears, and therefore uses the previous month's benzene contract settlement for direction.

HCl market sees price-increase initiatives
The US hydrochloric (HCl) acid market showed signs of life as producers and distributors announced proposed price increases, the first in 19 months. Six distributors, producers and makers of HCl as a by-product have made separate announcements. Most are heard to range from $20-30/wet ton for 22-degree Baume material, a solution of 2:1 water to hydrogen chloride.

September acrylates gains surface, but talks continue
Increases in US September acrylic acid and acrylate esters free-market contract prices surfaced on expected propylene pressure, but negotiations were mostly still underway. A buyer confirmed it had accepted increases of 2-3 cents/lb ($44-66/tonne) for at least two of the acrylate esters.

Election uncertainty spooks US economists – NABE
Forecasters expect the US economy will slowly rise at best or fall into recession at worst, as apprehension surrounds the upcoming November US presidential election, according to the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). Over 80% of panellists expect the next US business cycle peak will not occur until 2018 or after, well into the administration of the next US president.

By Staff Reporter