US ethylene margins slump 13%

(ICIS) -- US ethylene margins fell by 13% last week after weakening demand pushed spot prices sharply lower, ICIS margin reports showed on Monday. Ethylene margins fell to 30.31 cents/lb (USD 0668/tonne, EUR 474/tonne) last week, from 34.96 cents/lb a week earlier, using ethane as a feedstock.

The average US ethylene spot price dropped by 8% in the week ended 24 June, pressured by softer demand and a drop in derivative prices, market sources said.

Ethylene for June traded at 57.50-63.00 cents/lb, down from 65.25-66.00 cents/lb a week ago, while July ethylene traded at 56.50-63.00 cents/lb, down from 64.25-65.50 cents/lb in the previous week.

The slump in spot prices last week reflected weaker demand for polyethylene (PE) in both the domestic and export markets, sources said, adding that some PE producers were actually selling ethylene instead of PE.


Solvay to invest EUR 120 mln in a plant

(Plastemart) -- Solvay is to invest around EUR 120 mln in a plant to produce Solef Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF), Tecnoflon, Fluoroelastomers (FKM) and their monomer VF2 in China. The plant, to be located at Changshu in Jiangsu province, will become operational at the beginning of 2014, and meet Asia's growing demand.

"This new production plant will enable Solvay to capture a part of the huge growth potential in this region," said Solvay plastics sector group general manager Jacques van Rijckevorsel. "We'll bring our customers more value-added polymers which will help them improve their environmental footprint and sustainability profile."


Russian producers to decrease domestic prices for PVC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reduction of export prices for American PVC in July suspended. Some Russian producers were forced to reduce July contract prices, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

North American producers completed their offers for July shipment to external market, and this month they don't plan to decrease prices. Over the month, export quotations for American PVC fell more than by USD 100/mt.

European producers will start discussion of export prices for PVC in July only at the end of the week, after contract prices for ethylene in Europe will be formed. Some market players suppose that last week decrease of oil quotations may result in reduction of contract price for ethylene by EUR 80-100/mt.

Under the pressure of considerable decrease of prices in the external markets, some Russian producers also declared decrease of PVC prices for domestic market. Talks on the level of contract prices still go on, but some converters confirmed that they had managed to reduce prices by 1.500 RUB/t.


LyondellBasell has launched two new low density polyethylene resins

(LyondellBasell) -- LyondellBasell has launched two new low density polyethylene (LDPE) resins that offer enhanced performance for a wide range of film applications. The new grades are produced using the company's Lupotech T high pressure tubular process technology.

Lupolen 3420J and Lupolen 3426J feature numerous benefits compared to standard LDPE products used in film such as higher stiffness, optimized puncture and tear resistance, optimum optics and low gel levels. Key beneficiaries of this technology include producers of label, hygiene, overwrap and lamination film, tissue packaging and surface protection film.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 58 sites in 18 countries.


BASF offers a new solution for phenol-free thermal receipt paper

(BASF) -- Every thermal paper contains a color developer as a key component in a chemical system designed to produce an image or record upon the application of heat. For many years Bisphenol A (BPA) was widely used as a color developer but recently there have been many concerns raised regarding its toxicological properties and therefore its suitability for use in thermal paper. As a result of these concerns, a number of retail companies are now looking for BPA- and phenol-free thermal receipt papers.

As a leading global manufacturer of Paper Chemicals, BASF has a range of high quality products that are used in the manufacture of thermal paper. At a time when alternatives to BPA are being requested by end users of thermal paper, BASF has gone one step further and offers Pergafast 201, a proprietary color developer that is not only an alternative to BPA, but is also non-phenolic. Because of this two-fold benefit, the product more than meets the demand from the industry.

High image stability of this new product class enables a wide range of applications such as tickets, tags, labels and bank statements where such properties are essential.