PVC price continues to drop on oversupply in China paste market

(ICIS) -- China's PVC paste market prices have been the lowest of the entire year, industry sources said on Friday.
The delivery price of glove materials in East China is about yuan (CNY) 10,000/tonne ($1577) and the delivery price of leather materials in East China is about CNY9,500/tonne, lower by 25% and 30% respectively compared with the highest prices of 2011.

In supply, the upstream PVC paste plants face great pressure from overstocking because of poor sales in a weak market.
The total inventory of all large plants is more than 40,000 tonnes, taking up over 70% of stock capacity, according to data from ICIS China.

However, as they are still profitable, upstream producers are reluctant to cut operation rates to ease the inventory pressure, according to industry sources.
The demand for PVC paste is sluggish as the glove industry, which mostly relies on export, has difficulty with sales as it is badly affected by European debt crisis.

Product prices keep dropping due to sluggish demand and the fact that the leather and tool industries are in off season.

Some plants have shut down or turned to produce other products, according to industry sources.
The outlook for the PVC paste market is that it will remain in a situation of oversupply in the short term and the trend for prices is downward.


Arkema caustic soda prices up EUR70/dmt, FM to be lifted

(ICIS) -- Chemical major Arkema will raise January caustic soda prices in France by EUR70/dry metric tonne (dmt) - or USD90/dmt - because of market tightness caused by reduced output of co-product chlorine as well as production outages at several manufacturing sites, a source at the French company said today.

US-based Dow Chemical announced a EUR50/dmt increase on 29 November, effective 1 January 2012. INEOS ChlorVinyls followed on 14 December, announcing contract price hikes of EUR50/dmt with immediate effect or as contracts allowed.

Arkema restarted its electrolysis units in Fos-sur-Mer and Lavera, near Marseilles, on France's Mediterranean coast, in the week ending 9 December, following unplanned shutdowns. The force majeure remains in place until further notice, as the company aims to build up enough inventories to secure customer supply.

The Arkema source said: ⌠All sites are producing at the rate dictated by low chlorine offtake. Thus, caustic soda production is still limited, which is delaying a recovery of stock levels.
⌠Nevertheless, next week we should have our storage facilities in Spain, Italy and the UK back to a workable level, which will allow us to decrease the allocation quota from 100% to 50%, and later lift the force majeure.


Thai Company to Suspend Operations at its Three PP Units in January-February

(chemmonitor) -- The Thailand-based company HMC Polymers intends to close its several units for maintenance works. The facilities are employed in polypropylene (PP) production.

Map Ta Phut (Thailand) is the plants location. Each unit will be closed for about one week. The shutdowns are likely to occur within first two months of 2012.

HMC Polymers is a market leader in specialty polypropylene in Thailand. HMC Polymers established the first polypropylene manufacturing facility in Thailand in 1987 and today's capacity is 450,000 metric tons per annum. In 2006 a decision was made to invest in a Spherizone plant with a production capacity of 300,000 metric tons per annum which will commence operations in mid-2009.
Spherizone is a state-of-the-art polypropylene manufacturing technology that allows the manufacture of innovative resins with properties beyond the known properties of polypropylene.


Coke makes investment push to bring 100% biobased bottle closer to reality

(plasticstoday) -- Coca-Cola is betting on the technologies of three firms to help it get to a 100% biobased bottle by 2020, announcing partnerships with Virent, Gevo and Avantium to take its PlantBottle from 30% renewably sourced to 100% in the next eight years.

Virent and Gevo's technologies center on a biobased route to terephthalic acid (PTA) forerunner, paraxylene, which along with monoethylene glycol (MEG), is used to make bottle material polyethylene terephthalate (PET), while Avantium has create a way to convert carbohydrates into furanic chemical building blocks that could be used to create a biobased route to polyesters, among other materials.

For its part, Avantium believes its PEF material will become the next-generation biobased polyester, since it's essentially a drop-in replacement for PET. Avantium started up a PEF pilot plant on Dec. 8 in Geleen, the Netherlands and says it has already made bottles with exceptional barrier and thermal properties, in a production process that fits into the existing bottle supply chain. It plans commercial PEF production in about three to four years. Virent, meanwhile, is targeting early 2015 for the opening of its first full-scale commercial plant.

Gevo has developed a platform technology based on a proprietary fermentation method that utilizes a biocatalyst and the efficient separation of isobutanol. The company says that combination enables the low cost retrofit of existing ethanol capacity for isobutanol, a forerunner to several chemicals, including paraxylene.

Since introduced it was introduced in 2009, more than 10 billion PlantBottle packages have been distributed in 20 countries worldwide. At this stage, the bottle is 30% biobased, with the MEG portion derived sugar cane ethanol, and the other 70% from petroleum based PTA.


Samsung Total to invest USD1.4 bln in a paraxylene plant at Daesan

(plastemart) -- The board of directors of Samsung Total Petrochemicals has approved an investment outlay of Won 1.66 trillion (USD1.44 bln) to build a new 1 mln tpa paraxylene plant at its Daesan complex. The company's paraxylene capacity will increase to 1.6 mln tpa when the new plant comes on line in September 2014.

Samsung Total is a 50-50 joint venture between South Korea's Samsung Group and the French chemical group Total.