In Asian petrochemical shares closed sharply lower

(ICIS) -- Asian petrochemical shares closed sharply lower on Monday, in line with heavy losses across regional bourses, on concerns that the global economy is on the brink of another downturn.
Shares of Japan's petrochemical majors fell at the close of trading, with Mitsui Chemicals falling 3.24%, Mitsubishi Chemical down 1.59% and Asahi Kasei slipping 2.09%.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 202.32 points or 2.18% to settle at 9,097.56. In South Korea, LG Chemical slumped 4.91% and Hanwha Chemical declining 4.27%, with the KOSPI composite index declined 3.82% or 74.30 points at 1,869.45. In Hong Kong, PetroChina settled 3.09% lower, with the Hang Seng index settled at 20,490.57, down 455.57 points or 2.17% from Friday's close.

The downgrade of US' credit ratings by Standard & Poor's (S&P), days after the world's biggest economy averted a debt default weighed down on the overall market sentiment.

In China's styrene butadiene rubber market, the mood has turned cautious on the back of the global stock market plunge, with traders retreating on the sidelines awaiting clearer direction


The US could be veering towards another recession

(ICIS) -- The US could be veering towards another recession, petrochemical market participants said on Friday, as a massive sell-off in chemical stocks became the latest sign of a slowdown.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 513 points on Thursday, its worst day since the 680 drop in December 2008. Chemical stocks were hit particularly hard during Thursday's sell-off, with several falling by more than 7%.

The decline was the latest in a series of bad news, which overshadowed what has largely been a strong earnings season for North American chemical companies.

In July, a statistic that measures the growth of the US manufacturing sector fell to its lowest point since the end of the recession. Manufacturing activity barely grew in July, according to that statistic, the purchasing managers index (PMI) of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).


Iran's Pars Petrochemical Complex exported 191 KT of petrochemical products

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Iran's Pars Petrochemical Complex has exported 191 KT of petrochemical products in the period between 22 June to 22 July, the company has announced. ⌠We have exported more than 191 KT of various products to foreign countries during that period, Ali-Asghar Zarafshan, managing director of the complex was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying.

He reiterated that exports of Pars Petrochemical Complex in the last month included 90 KT of propane, 47 KT of butane and 54 KT of styrene monomer.

The company announced in April that it had exported 1.27 million tons of LNG during the period from March 2010- March 2011 (which represents the Iranian calendar). The exported LNG constituted 9.8% of the National Iranian Petrochemical Company (PCC) total exports in the same period.


Rexam showed a fall in sales and earnings in the first half of 2011

(PlastEurope) -- The plastics operations of packaging group Rexam showed a fall in sales and earnings in the first half of 2011. As a result, the company has announced measures to remedy the weak business development in this segment, starting with price hikes, cost-cutting projects and capacity adjustments. In the medium term, the Plastic Packaging division will also shift some of its production to Asia because of increasing competition in China. Apart from that, there are plans to step up the level of automation. In Europe and Brazil, on the other hand, Rexam intends to invest in other growth areas such as make-up and dispensing systems.


EPA awards contracts to U.S. companies to screen chemicals for human health impacts

(EPA) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ToxCast chemical screening program has awarded contracts to four United States-based companies to test up to 10,000 chemicals for potential toxicity to people and the environment. ToxCast is designed to determine how chemical exposures affect human health. When fully implemented, ToxCast will be able to screen thousands of chemicals in fast, cost-effective tests.

The four companies will initially screen up to 1,000 chemicals currently in the ToxCast program using innovative technologies such as stem cell toxicity tests. These new technologies can quickly determine the potential for a chemical to cause harm to the human body. Screening results from the new technologies will be combined with data already being generated by the other 500 rapid chemical tests used by EPA's ToxCast program.

The chemicals ToxCast is now screening are found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs. ToxCast's goal is to reduce EPA's reliance on slow and expensive animal toxicity tests, enabling the agency to screen chemicals more quickly and to predict and identify potential risks to Americans.