Changan saw only 3% rise in the first 10 months of 2011

(Reuters)-- Chongqing Changan Automobile, China's No.4 car maker was one of the obscure winners of Beijing's decision to release a flood of cash into its economy during the darkest moment of the global financial crisis.

After car sales growth of 46 percent in 2009 and 32 percent in 2010, the maker of the squat Ben Ben mini car and Changan Star van saw a modest 3 percent rise in the first 10 months of 2011. It also watched its share price plunge.

"China's leaders understand that safeguarding growth is very important, but in 2008 the government had more policy tools they could use," said Liang Youcai, a senior economist at the State Information Centre, a top government think-tank in Beijing.

"They won't unveil a large-scale economic stimulus anywhere close to the 4 trillion yuan program."
Beijing has reasons to steer clear of big stimulus, including the need to avoid firing up inflation, which remains relatively high.
A local government debt crisis is an awkward side effect of the government incentives in 2008, making stimulus a loaded word.

And a looming 2012 political transition that will see top leaders step down, leaves policymakers aiming for stability, not a big fiscal injection of cash into the economy.
Furthermore, China may have the fiscal leeway to do enough for the economy anyway, with the "fine tuning" that Premier Wen Jiabao has said will keep its economic engine running smoothly, analysts say.

China's latest five-year plan set a conservative GDP growth target of 7 percent, widely regarded as giving the government political leeway to rebalance the economy without having to simultaneously maintain breakneck economic expansion.

So whether by design or by default, major stimulus seems decidedly unlikely this time around.
Of course that may not do much good for China's automakers, with the industry facing an uphill struggle next year.
"I am not optimistic about Q4, and Q1 next year could be similar," Changan's president, Zhang Baolin. "China's car market next year is likely to remain in a slow growing trend overall."


Danone wins Bioplastics Award

(plasticsnews) -- Groupe Danone SA's German business has won the Bioplastics Award 2011 for its ⌠exceptional commitment to the extensive use of bioplastics in the packaging of its dairy brand products.

The judges particularly noted Danone GbmH's use of Ingeo polylactic acid in its Activia yogurt cups and Braskem biobased high density polyethylene in its Actimel yogurt drink bottles.

Andreas Knaut, Danone's director of corporate communications, said: ⌠We are very pleased about the award. A highly valued acknowledgement like this is wonderful confirmation of our achievement over years of research, and of our commitment in the field of bioplastics.

⌠We must get away from our dependence on petroleum and focus on packaging materials that come from renewable resources. We therefore hope that the award will motivate other companies to select bioplastics. It is only in this way that we will be able to establish a full recycling system, for example for PLA, and make full use of the material's potential.

The annual award was organized by Bioplastics Magazine based in Germany. The award was launched by European Plastics News in 2006, which jointly organized the award with Bioplastics Magazine in 2010.


China propylene to extend falls on weak demand

(ICIS) -- China's domestic propylene prices will likely fall further in the coming weeks because of weak demand, market sources said on Wednesday.

Spot prices closed at yuan (CNY) 9,300-9,350/tonne (USD1,467-1,475/tonne) ex-tank in Shandong province on Wednesday, down by CNY50-100/tonne from Tuesday, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

⌠The demand from powered polypropylene (PP) sector is very weak amid falling prices, an east China-based propylene producer said.

⌠Many downstream small weaving bags factories will shut down in early January next year as China's Lunar New Year comes earlier than before. That means the demand in the next month will not improve, he said.

The Lunar New Year will be celebrated in China on 22-28 January next year.
Most propylene producers rush to offload cargoes at lower prices towards the end of the year, weighing on product prices, market sources said.

China's energy giant Sinopec has reduced its propylene offer by CNY200/tonne to CNY9,200-9,300/tonne ex-tank to cope with the lacklustre market condition, a company source said.


Polimeri Europa's Dunkirk cracker back online but at reduced rates

(ICIS) -- Polimeri Europa's cracker at Dunkirk, France, is back online but running at reduced rates, a company source said on Wednesday.

"Dunkirk is running since Sunday, 4 December, the source said.
The source added that the cracker was running ⌠in line with the European average and said operating rates were at 70-75%.

The cracker, which has the capacity to produce 380,000 tonnes/year of ethylene, had experienced a series of restart delays caused by additional checks and technical issues following its unexpected shutdown on 23 October.

A force majeure on ethylene, propylene and crude C4s was declared by the Italy-headquartered Eni subsidiary following the shutdown and this remains in place.

European crackers have been running at reduced rates for the past two-to-three months because of poor demand from key derivatives polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
There is ongoing speculation over the status of one or two crackers which may already be shut down or are due to be idled for commercial reasons.


German packaging firm Sanner expands in Asia

(plasticsnews) -- Sanner GmbH, a Germany company that specializes in desiccants, closures and other plastic packaging products, has expanded its plant in Kunshan, China, and opened a sales office in Indonesia.

The Bensheim-based company opened the Kunshan plant in 2000. The facility now employs nearly 100, making tubes and desiccant closures and custom packaging. The expanded production area, which opened in September, is designed as a clean room facility, the firm said in a news release.

Sanner said the project cost several million euros.

CEO Holger Frank said the operations are in line with increasing pharmaceutical packaging standards in Asia.

The company also has production operations in Germany and Hungary.

The sales office in Jakarta, Indonesia, opened in October. The office will primarily serve customers in Southeast Asia. The company's sales office in Shanghai will continue to serve other Asian regions.

Sanner said it has more than 400 employees in Germany, China, Hungary, and the United States, and it generated 2010 sales of more than EUR40 million (USD53 million).