China's polymer markets are seen squeezed between high costs and poor demand

(polyestertime) -- As polymer markets are seen squeezed between high costs and unsatisfactory demand in China, trading activities are mostly reported to be stalled with players preferring to take a wait and see stance.

They generally argue that any price cut is not seen possible in the near term considering the fact that polymer markets have been firm since the beginning of 2012 in China with sellers attempting to raise their offers for PP, PVC, PE and PS products due to the cost pressure from the upstream markets.

Nevertheless, demand has been showing an unsatisfactory performance, failing to meet the expectations about a rebound in the aftermath of the Chinese New Year celebrated at the end of January. This situation paved the way for regional and overseas suppliers to shift their allocations to other markets.

The players generally argue that any price cut is not seen possible in the near term considering the fact that
the upstream chain is maintaining its strength. However, they also do not think that large price hikes are likely
to materialize as long as demand retains its sluggish stance. Therefore, a stable to firm trend is expected to
be seen over the near term with prices fluctuating in a narrow range.


Brazil's Cosan buys UK lubricants firm from Exxon

(guardian) -- Brazil's largest exporter of sugar and ethanol, Cosan, said on Thursday it was buying Comma Oil and Chemicals, an automobile lubricants and additives company in Kent, England, from Exxon Mobil Corp Esso Petroleum Co.

Cosan said in a filing that the value of the deal would not exceed USD100 million and it would give the company a foothold into the automobile chemicals markets in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.
A separate agreement will be signed that will allow Comma to continue to distribute products under the Mobil brand and produce for and distribute to affiliates of Exxon Mobil.

Nelson Gomes, executive director of the Cosan group, said the deal was part of the company's plan to diversify its revenues and expand abroad. Cosan is in a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell Plc called Raizen that combines the company's sugar, ethanol and fuel distribution assets in Brazil.


Bayer increased annual sales in North America

(plastemart) -- Bayer has reported increased annual sales in North America led by gains in the company's CropScience and MaterialScience subgroups. Total sales in the region (US and Canada) were EUR 8177 mln (USD11366 mln), an increase of 3.6% compared with full-year 2010 sales.

North American sales represented nearly one quarter of Bayer's global sales of EUR 36528 mln, maintaining North America's position as the second largest region for Bayer after Europe. Annual sales within the United States advanced by 3.2% to USD9791 mln compared to USD9486 mln for the full-year 2010.

"2011 was another solid year for Bayer in North America, despite continued economic challenges," said Greg Babe, President and CEO of Bayer Corporation USA and Senior Bayer Representative in North America. "Increased demand for our products, especially in the CropScience and MaterialScience businesses, helped lead the way to positive results in this important region." Bayer's annual sales in North America increased in two of its three subgroups versus the prior year.

North American sales in Bayer MaterialScience advanced by 9.6% to EUR 2109 mln (USD2932 mln). In 2011, Bayer invested EUR 528 mln (USD734 mln) in research and development in North America and increased its capital expenditures by 32% to EUR 420 mln (USD584 mln). Some of the announced investments and key activities in 2011 included a USD120 mln process technology and energy efficiency improvement project at Bayer MaterialScience's Baytown, Texas, facility -- Bayer's largest production site in the U.S.


BASF to increase prices for extrusion and fiber polyamides in Europe

(basf) -- BASF will increase prices of its Ultramid extrusion and fiber polyamides in Europe by EUR 150 per metric ton with immediate effect.

The price adjustment is necessary due to the strong increase in raw material costs. BASF continues its efforts to offset rising costs in a difficult environment. However, the extraordinary market conditions force BASF to implement this price increase.

BASF's Ultramid extrusion and fiber polyamides are used for producing films for food packaging and industrial use, for manufacturing monofilaments, for wire jacketing, for carpet and textile fibers.


Lanxess increases prices for chloroprene rubber

(lanxess) -- Specialty chemicals company Lanxess is to increase its prices worldwide for its Baypren branded chloroprene rubbers by up to EUR 160 / USD 210 per metric ton effective March 1, 2012, in response to steeply rising raw material and energy costs, announced the company.

Chloroprene rubber (CR) is suitable as a solid rubber for producing cable sheathing, air spring bellows, hoses and belts and as a latex for the manufacture of adhesives.

The Technical Rubber Products business unit is part of Lanxess' Performance Polymers segment, which recorded sales of EUR 3,782 million in fiscal 2010.