In August PE imports to Ukraine 18% up

(MRC) -- In August, Ukrainian companies increased PE import supplies to 27.6 KT which was 18% more compared to July. Imports growth referred to all PE types. Over the first eight months, overall PE supplies to the Ukrainian market made 202 KT, according to MRC DataScope. That was 3% more year on year.

Last month linear polyethylene demonstrated the biggest import increase. LLDPE supplies grew by 1.5 on the back of growing demand for film grades and exceeded 5 KT. HDPE imports was up by 20% to 13.2 KT. External LDPE supplies grew only by 6% and reached 8.6 KT.

Last year Karpatneftechem (Lukojl group) restarted HDPE production that allowed to reduce film PE imports to the Ukrainian market almost by twice. Last summer HDPE film imports in Ukraine made nearly 5 KT, while in July-August this year, itmports declined to 2.5 KT.

Over the two last months, import volumes of pipe HDPE (including uncoloured grades) have increased and made more than 4.5 KT. The supplies geography of pipe PE in the Ukrainian market has grown significantly, but main import supplies still fall at the following companies: Stavrolen, Sabic, Kazanorgsyntez, TVK and Unipetrol. Recently a share of coloured PE100 significantly reduced in total imports to the Ukrainian market.

In August, imports of blow molding HDPE grew. Last month PE supplies reached 2.5 KT, due to seasonal factors, as well as September-October maintenance stops of major suppliers to the Ukrainian market (Unipetrol, Kazanorgsyntez and TVK). IM HDPE supplies, on the contrary, decreased almost by half due to a seasonal drop in demand for PET bottles caps.


In August PP imports to Ukraine reached record 9KT

(MRC) -- In August PP import supplies to the Ukrainian market increased to record 9 KT, that was 11% more compared with July. The imports growth referred to all PP types, according to MRC DataScope. Over the first eight months, overall PP supplies from foreign markets approached 50 KT, that was 2% more year on year.

Large PP imports in 2010 mostly resulted from a long-term maintenance stop of Ukrainian producer LINIK in May - June. The peak of PP imports in Ukraine fell exactly on the first two months of last summer. Also, the heat wave in July-August caused unscheduled stops of LINIK capacities. PP imports volumes began going down only with autumn coming.

This year, PP-homo supplies to the Ukrainian market have neraly doubled over the last two months. In August, total PP-homo imports in Ukraine made nearly 6 KT.

Last November, Saudi Arabia company NatPet brought its PP to the Ukrainian market. This year sales geography of PP-homo imports has extended. In July - August, Egyptian Propylene & Polypropylene Company (EPPC) presented its raffia in the Ukrainian market. Over the past two months, PP-homo imports from Eastern Europe significantly increased. The materials produced by Slovnaft, Rompetrol, Hipol were actively offered.

A completely different picture is observed in the Ukrainian market of PP copolymers. This year deliveries of PP-impact decreased by 8% year on year and made 10.6 KT. Because of high prices at the beginning of the year, local companies have limited purchases of PP-impact in Europe. A slight increase in consumption was fixed in August.

This year, PP-random market was up by 15%. The main increase in consumption referred to extrusion grades, in particular, suitable for production of pressure pipes made of polypropylene. The demand for IM PP-random with a high index of melt flow rate also increased.


European polyethylene producers start talks about price hikes for October

(ICIS) -- Some European polyethylene (PE) producers are beginning to talk about price hikes for October against a background of subdued demand and an uncertain outlook for feedstock ethylene, market sources said on Monday.

Dow Europe's plans to increase October PE prices by ┬150/tonne ($205/tonne) came as a surprise to many players, but at least one other major producer is considering a similar move. Dow justified its move by quoting unsustainable margins and said it was cutting back production. September PE pricing is still under discussion, and much business is not expected to be settled before the very end of the month.

Producers had begun the month looking for increases but targets for higher prices were swiftly swept aside as it became clear that the level of demand in Europe could not support increases.

Some sellers talk of improved demand as the month has progressed but several large PE converters continue to report order books of only two weeks.


Asian PA, DOP producers prepare for tough fourth quarter

(ICIS) -- Asian phthalic anhydride (PA) and dioctyl phthalate (DOP) producers are preparing for a rough ride as they move into the fourth quarter of this year, industry sources said on Monday.
⌠With such high feedstock orthoxylene (OX) costs, PA producers are losing money with every tonne of material produced, a South Korean producer said.

OX spot prices were assessed at USD 1,575/tonne (EUR1,150/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) northeast (NE) Asia on 16 September, while PA values were at USD 1,460/tonne CFR China Main Port (CMP) on the same day, according to ICIS.

Typically, a tonne of PA is made by using 950kg of OX. A producer then needs to add USD100/tonne to its price to cover conversion costs. Based on the assessed OX and PA prices on 16 September, Asian producers are losing USD 136.25 for each tonne of PA they make.

In India, IG Petrochemicals Limited (IGPL) is keeping the production at its PA plants at 70% of their capacities. IGPL operates two PA lines in Taloja with a combined production capacity of 116,110 tonnes/year.

In China, Shandong Hongxin is operating its three PA lines, with a total production capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year, at 70% of their capacities.

South Korea's Aekyung Petrochemical has lowered the operating rates at its 150,000 tonne/year DOP plant at Ningbo in Zhejiang province to 50% of its capacity as it is unable to obtain sufficient feedstock PA.


LANXESS completes EUR 30m membrane filtration plant in Germany

(ICIS) -- Germany-based LANXESS has inaugurated a chemical plant to develop and produce membrane filtration technology for water treatment at its site in Bitterfeld, the specialty chemicals company said on Friday. The company has invested around EUR 30m (USD 42m) in the 4,000sqm project, which will create around 200 new jobs in the long term.

Membrane elements filter out unwanted substances from water such as salts, pesticides, herbicides, viruses and bacteria. The value of the global membrane market alone is estimated at around EUR 1bn/year and is set to rise, according to the company. LANXESS' first reverse osmosis membrane elements will be available on the market from early 2012.

The company added that in 2011 it is planning to invest around EUR 160m in its German sites, ⌠somewhat more than in 2010, LANXESS said without going in detail.

LANXESS announced in January 2010 that it would build the chemical plant at its Bitterfeld site as part of the group's strategy to further expand into the water treatment business.