European chems shares are recording dramatic falls

(ICIS) -- Share values in the chemical sector are recording dramatic falls on Tuesday as European stock markets are rocked following major sell-offs in both the US and Asia, amid continuing fears of a double-dip recession and the downgrading of US debt by credit rating agency Standard & Poor's.

The European Central Bank's (ECB's) decision on Sunday to step into the bond markets and buy Italian and Spanish debt in order to ensure eurozone price stability and avoid a Greece-style bail-out appears to have had little positive impact in an extremely nervous market environment.

At 09:00 GMT, the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx Chemicals index was trading down 4.00%, as shares in many of Europe's major chemical companies plummeted following steep drops on Monday.

Top European producers were hit hard - German major BASF's shares had dropped 4.49%, Bayer had fallen 5.78%, Dutch coatings firm AkzoNobel was down 2.99%, and France's Arkema had fallen by 2.14%. Belgium's Solvay had fallen 2.51% and Swiss specialties maker Clariant was trading down 2.09%. France-based industrial gases company Air Liquide was down 1.68%, while Germany's Linde was down 6.55%. Catalysts maker and precious metals trader Johnson Matthey of the UK was down slightly, by 0.18%.


Asian petrochemical shares continued to be battered

(ICIS) -- Asian petrochemical shares continued to be battered on Tuesday morning, with regional bourses taking the cue from Wall Street's overnight slump and oil prices plunging to below USD 80/bbl on heightened concerns that the global economy is heading towards another recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 5.55% to close at 10,809.85 on Monday. The decline was the biggest recorded since the 680-point fall in December 2008.

At 11:09 hours Singapore time (03:09 GMT), Japan's petrochemical majors - Mitsui Chemicals plunged by 5.59%, Mitsubishi Chemical slumped by 6.10% and Asahi Kasei fell by 5.45% with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index down by 403.25 points or 4.43% at 8,694.31, logging in its worst performance since Japan's disaster in March this year.

In Malaysia, PETRONAS Chemicals Group slipped by 3.11%, with the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index falling by 38.68 points or 2.58% at 1,458.31.

In Hong Kong, PetroChina was down a hefty 8.27%, with the Hang Seng Index shedding 1,334.56 points or 6.51% at 19,159.83.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index eased by 26.35 points or 1.04% at 2,500.47.


Dow Plastics Additives to both expand capacity and advance its technology

(Plastemart) -- Dow Plastics Additives, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, announced the construction of additional equipment to both expand capacity and advance its technology at its Grangemouth, Scotland, manufacturing facility today. The expansion will significantly increase the capacity of methyl-methacrylate butadiene styrene (MBS) based additives to better serve the growing demands of Dow's global customer base. The expansion is expected to be fully operational during the fourth quarter of 2011.

As a global leader in innovation, Dow is committed to offering the most technologically advanced additives in the world. The additional capacity of MBS products in Grangemouth, Scotland, demonstrates Dow's commitment to investing in its downstream performance businesses. The facility will increase Dow's capacity for MBS-based additives by 10,000 tpa and serve customers globally.


Galaxy Tool Corp. expands capability and capacity

(Plastics Today) -- Galaxy Tool Corp. of Winfield, KS is positioning itself to once again become a major player in the injection and blow mold manufacturing industries. The company just made a major capital investment in equipment, including a new 5-axis CNC machining center from Fidia that went online at the company this month. The machining center will expand Galaxy's capacity with a travel of 157 inches on the Y-axis, 79 inches along the x-axis and 55 inches along the Z-axis, increasing Galaxy's large 5-axis machining capacity by 30%.

Regarding the purchase, Galaxy Tool's vice president of business development, Paul Maples, stated, "Galaxy continues to see a surge in demand from current and potential customers for 5-axis machining. The addition of this machine allows us to offer shorter lead-times while enhancing customer support and creating additional growth opportunities for Galaxy." The company operates in a 90,000-sf facility and has 140 employees.

Galaxy also recently installed a Tarus gun drill, with drilling capabilities of .250 inches - 2 inches in diameter, and bore travel of up to 96 inches. The offset gun drill is being retrofitted with a new Fidia CNC control. Galaxy anticipates the gun drill will be operational by November of this year.


In July HDPE import to Russia decreased

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In July, import supplies of low pressure polyethylene (HDPE) in the Russian market decreased to 24 KT, as per MRC analysts. Over the seven months, total volume of imported HDPE has grown to 172.6 KT, that is 44 % more than year on year.

This year the peak of HDPE deliveries was in April. After June level of 26.26 KT, the total volume of imported HDPE in July lowered to 23.82 KT. The slight decrease in polyethylene imports was observed in such sectors, as extrusion coating of large diameter pipes, film extrusion and injection molding.

Since many Russian companies didn't produce blown HDPE last month, it resulted in a sharp increase in imports of polyethylene for extrusion blow molding (EBM). In particular, the supply of blown HDPE by Shurtan GCC, nearly tripled (up to 1.7 KT).

In general, over the first seven months of this year, the largest import increase referred to pipe and film HDPE. Supplies of polyethylene in these sectors of consumption grew by 81% and 131% and made 44.5 KT and 24.3 KT, correspondingly.