International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecasts for Asia

(ICIS) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday it has cut its growth forecasts for Asia on the back of deteriorating financial conditions in the eurozone and a possible slowdown in the US. ⌠Risks for the Asia and Pacific region are decidedly tilted to the downside, the IMF said in a report, adding that an escalation of the debt crisis in the eurozone and a more severe slowdown in the US will have clear macroeconomic and financial spillovers to Asia.

The economic growth in Asia has moderated since the second quarter of 2011, mainly because of a weakening of external demand, according to the IMF.

Asia's economic growth is based on exports to Europe and the US. Any slowdown in the buying activities of the two continents results in lower exports.

Growth in Asia is forecast to average at 6.3% in 2011 and rise to 6.7% in 2012, according to the IMF. However, this is lower than the April 2011 IMF forecast of about 7% for both years.
While domestic demand remains strong, Asia has ⌠clearly not decoupled from advanced economies, the IMF said.

However, a pullback in demand from Europe and the US could help control runaway commodity prices such as oil and essential food items, said Song Seng Wun, regional research head at Malaysian stock broking firm CIMB-GK Securities.


DSM and Resinex to join forces in the market development and sale

(DSM) -- DSM Engineering Plastics and RESINEX have entered into a distribution agreement, to join forces in the market development and sales of DSM Engineering Plastics resins in Switzerland.

The move, which is effective from 1 October 2011, is designed to strengthen the position of DSM Engineering Plastics in the Swiss marketplace, where DSM already has an ongoing partnership with Ter Hell. As such, this move is in line with DSM's strategy to deliver value for existing and new customers world-wide.

According to Anna Mojana, Distribution Manager, DSM Engineering Plastics, this joint approach will facilitate further growth of DSM Engineering Plastics in the key Swiss marketplace: ⌠This agreement will make DSM's range of world class products more easily available throughout Switzerland, using the RESINEX well-established distribution network. All products will be fully supported by DSM's outstanding technical support and application development programs, where necessary.


Japan's DIC to enter the European market for PPS resins

(PlasticsToday) -- Japan's DIC Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) is targeting a full-fledged entry into the European market for polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resins through the start-up of a compounding operation in Vienna, Austria by early 2013. In order to establish a presence in the European market prior to this., DIC acquired the PPS compounding business of Solvay in September this year.

The 14 million Euro ($18.7 million) Vienna plant will have an initial capacity of 6,000 tonnes/year, expandable to 10,000 tonnes/year. A key focus for its output will be metal substitution in the automotive sector.

DIC pegs the European market for PPS at 15,000 tonnes annually, or about half that of the Japanese market. It forecasts the European market to grow at 6-8% per annum in coming years and the company wants to capture a 20% share . DIC estimated global demand for PPS compounds for the year ended March 2011 at 73,000 tonnes while globally, the market is growing at 8% per annum.

DIC's European initiative is the latest in a series of investments to consolidate its position as the world's leading supplier of PPS compounds.


Australian Amcor developed a new PET food container

(PlastEurope) -- After several successful forays into the wine-in-PET market, Australian packaging giant Amcor's (Abbotsford) Rigid Plastics division has developed a new 24 oz (280 gr) wide mouth food container made entirely of PET. The 63mm round container, which weighs just 51 gr, can be filled with products at temperatures of up to 96 ╟C, making it an ideal glass replacement for containers filled with pasta sauces, apple sauce, salsas, jams and jellies, Amcor says. Amcor says its new wide mouth food container will hit the stores later this year, most likely filled with pasta sauce.

Highlighting the new container's benefits, Amcor principal engineer Ron McFarlane said that ⌠Amcor has taken wide mouth, hot fill containers to a new level by combining our round wall design and novel blow-trim technology to create a glass-like PET container that has all the desirable consumer advantages. Using PET as opposed to glass not only guarantees weight savings, which in turn mean lower transportation costs, the plastics alternative does not break easily either, which means both brand owners and packagers can guarantee better inline production and handling.


Wall Street analysts cut profit estimates for chemical companies for the 4th quarter and the full-year 2012

(ICIS) -- Wall Street analysts on Wednesday cut profit estimates for US chemical companies for the fourth quarter and the full-year 2012, amid slowing global economic growth, weaker demand and lower margins. The latest round of profit forecast reductions come from US-based investment banks Well Fargo and JP Morgan.

⌠We are of the belief that third quarter earnings will hold up relatively well across chemicals - up more than 20% year on year - but see some downside risk to fourth quarter estimates as near-term industry dynamics (lower oil, higher ethane) and cautious purchasing behaviour are impacting olefin margins, said Wells Fargo analyst Frank Mitsch in a research note.

The analyst lowered profit forecasts for Netherlands-based LyondellBasell and US-based companies Georgia Gulf and Westlake Chemical. For LyondellBasell, Mitsch took down his third quarter 2011 earnings per share estimate by 5 cents to $1.30, and his fourth quarter estimate by 20 cents to 83 cents, leading to full year 2011 earnings per share of $4.85. He also cut his 2012 forecast by 25 cents to $4.85.

The analyst reduced his fourth quarter earnings per share estimate on Georgia Gulf by 10 cents to 36 cents on weaker expected aromatics results. Mitsch expects the company to earn $2.10/share in 2011 and $2.25/share in 2012.

For Westlake, the analyst cut his fourth quarter estimate by 10 cents to 84 cents/share, leading to overall 2011 earnings per share of $4.40. For 2012, he also cut his forecast by 35 cents to $4.40.
The analyst said temporary market dislocations have compressed olefin margins, which could face pressure through the end of the year.