SABIC Innovative Plastics announced the newest addition to its Extem UH family

(SABIC) -- SABIC Innovative Plastics announced the newest addition to its Extem UH family of amorphous thermoplastic polyaimide (TPI) resins to meet customer requirements for design-friendly materials that deliver high performance at prolonged extreme temperatures. This unique new grade not only delivers unprecedented heat resistance, but also opens vast new design possibilities by providing exceptional dimensional stability for thin-wall molding. Extem UH resin underscores SABIC Innovative Plastics' ongoing investment in high-end thermoplastic technologies and the company's proactive efforts to track and address fast-evolving customer needs.

Potential applications include wire and cable insulation, high performance connectors and accessories, semicon plasma chamber components and pickup systems, high heat film, bearing cages, gears, membranes, stockshapes and composites.


Sinopec halts fuel exports on shortage as refiners make loss

(Bloomberg) -- China Petrochemical Corp., Asia's biggest oil refiner, halted fuel exports to ensure domestic supply as high crude costs and retail price caps cause private refiners to cut back on production.

Sinopec Group, as the company is known, ⌠stopped exporting to other regions apart from sustaining the basic resource needs of Hong Kong and Macau, it said in its online newsletter. The Beijing-based company will run its refineries at full capacity and cut petrochemical production to boost output of gasoline and diesel for domestic use, it said.

China's fuel inventories fell last month as consumption rose to a record on demand for travel, manufacturing and spring planting. Retail fuel prices increased an average 10 percent this year, according to Bloomberg calculations, while global crude oil climbed 17 percent.


European PP buyers are still paying record-high prices

(ICIS) -- European polypropylene (PP) buyers are still paying record-high prices as relief from a relentless round of price increases fails to materialise, sources said on Tuesday. Net homopolymer injection prices are currently trading on either side of EUR 1.400/tonne (USD 2.000/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), recording an almost constant price rise from a low of EUR 600/tonne at the end of 2008.

The expected flood of imports from new production in the Middle East has still not arrived, and sources do not expect this situation to change in the short term.

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical (Petro Rabigh) is planning to shut its 700 KTa PP plant at Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, at the end of April for approximately two months of maintenance.

Egypt's Oriental Petrochemical Co (OPC) is running its 160 KTa PP unit at about 80% because of a lack of propylene supply from Libya.

Pricing in Europe for April PP has been mixed, with producers taking a different approach to the market depending mainly on their stock position, but there has been no hint of a price reduction from European suppliers.


Braskem is considering investment in an ethylene cracker and PE plant in the US

(ICIS) -- Brazil-based petrochemical and polymers company Braskem is considering a greenfield investment in an ethylene cracker and a polyethylene (PE) plant in the US, its CEO said on Tuesday. ⌠In PE as well as PVC [polyvinyl chloride], we see opportunities for greenfield investment in the US, especially with the shale gas feedstock, said CEO Carlos Fadigas at a media event at the New York Stock Exchange.

Braskem produces PE in Brazil, but has no capacity for the resin in the US. The company is a major player in US polypropylene (PP) after it bought Sunoco's PP assets in 2010.

While Braskem is considering a major project in the US, Fadigas noted that ⌠all petrochemical companies are contemplating greenfield PE capacity in the US.


Japan's chemicals exports grew 6.7%

(ICIS) -- Japan's chemicals exports grew 6.7% year on year to USD 7.88bn in March while overall exports declined for the first time in 16 months, falling 2.2% from a year ago, data from the Ministry of Finance showed on Wednesday. Exports of organic chemicals rose 12.1% year on year to Y194.5bn in March, but plastics exports slipped 1.1% to Y206.5bn, the preliminary trade data showed. Japanese export volumes of plastic materials fell 5.6% year on year to 610,269 tonnes in March, according to the data.

Meanwhile, exports of motor vehicles slipped 27.8% year on year to Y601.5bn in March, making it the largest contributor to the decline in total exports, according to the data.

The Japanese automobile industry has been affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeast region of the country on 11 March, with automakers struggling to restore pre-quake production levels on the back of power cuts and parts shortages.

All of Japan's major car production facilities are operating again, but many car factories are running at lower production rates, according to local media reports.