RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (ICIS)--The Latin America petrochemicals industry gathered in Brazil on Sunday for the start of the 37th annual APLA meeting, with more than 850 registered delegates arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the event, an industry official said.
The meeting will cover topics such as feedstock, sustainability and the environment, said APLA director Jose Luis Uriegas.
The performance of the Brazilian economy, the largest one in the region, is also expected to be a key topic of discussion among industry delegates.
At least one industry participant expressed optimism about a recovery in Brazil, saying there are signs the economy has bottomed out and started to improve after one of its worst recessions ever.
Inflation and interest rates are falling and that will foster growth in Brazil, said Eugenio Manzano, executive director of Pochteca, a Mexican chemical distributor.
The outlook for Mexico is also positive, Manzano said, adding that the country’s middle class is growing while Mexico is making progress in energy reform.
Delegates will also discuss how capacity expansions in other regions, particularly in the US, will impact Latin America.
Analysts have warned that new polyethylene (PE) capacity coming online will exceed demand growth, leading to some difficult years ahead until the market balances out.
This will cause a surge in exports from the US and will create a buyer’s market in other regions, said James Ray, a consultant with ICIS.
“It will be a buyer’s market but not a bloodbath,” he said, referring to PE while predicting that for polypropylene (PP) the outlook is for a tighter market and higher margins.
The Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) meeting runs through Tuesday.
Additional reporting by Al Greenwood
Photo above of Sao Conrado beach where the event is being held.