World Bank cuts global economic outlook despite oil price drop

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The World Bank lowered its global growth forecast for 2015 and next year due to disappointing economic prospects in the euro zone, Japan and some major emerging economies that offset the benefit of lower oil prices, said Reuters.

The global development lender predicted the global economy would grow 3 percent this year, below a forecast of 3.4 percent made in June, according to its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report.

World GDP growth will reach 3.3 percent in 2016, as opposed to a June forecast of 3.5 percent, before dipping to 3.2 percent in 2017, it said. "The global economy is at a disconcerting juncture," World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu told reporters. "It is as challenging a moment as it gets for economic forecasting."

The world economy has been more sluggish than expected since the 2007-2009 global financial crisis. The World Bank said strong growth prospects in the United States and Britain separated them from other rich nations, including members of the euro zone and Japan, which continue to face anemic economies and deflation fears.

Like other forecasters, the World Bank predicted the roughly 60-percent drop in global oil prices since June of last year should be a net positive for the world economy, boosting oil-importing countries.

But while the World Bank expected oil prices to stay low this year, it said the positive price shock could take several years to feed into its growth outlook, while increasing short-term market volatility and reducing investments in unconventional oil such as shale and deep sea oil.

The immediate impact of lower crude prices was limited to a 0.1 percentage point boost to the global outlook this year, the World Bank said.

Falling oil prices could also depress inflation around the world. Fears of deflation, along with overall gloomier global prospects and stagnant U.S. wages, could encourage the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more slowly than anticipated, Basu said.

Luxus to expand PP polymer production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lincolnshire-based plastics recycling and compounding firm Luxus been awarded GBP600,000 in EU funding to expand a project to produce plastic compounds with a high recycled content for car manufacturing, said Letsrecycle.

The company, currently celebrating its 50th year, is known for wheeled bin recycling at its facility in Louth. Luxus also develops specialised prime plastic compounds from prime feedstocks. The high recycled content compoud is produced by Luxus in Louth.

With the help of funding from the EU, the firm is now aiming to commercialise its ‘Hycolene’ range of lightweight polypropylene compounds, which will be used for producing ‘interior trim’ for vehicles by European car manufacturers.

Luxus has developed the lightweight PP range, which is made up of 60% recycled content and is carrying out testing on the product alongside twin screw manufacturer Coperion and Jaguar Land Rover. The auto manufacturer will be providing end user guidance on the project to ensure the technical requirements of the car industry are met, allowing exploitation of this technology in future auto applications across the industry.

According to Luxus a barrier to the rollout of the scheme until now has been scaling up the production of the Hycolene grades through existing infrastructure.

As a result of the investment, the firm claims that it has been able to purchase a new twin screw co-rotating extruder which will help it meet the material specifications demanded by end users.

Luxus managing director Peter Atterby, said: "We’re pleased that the commercial potential of our Hycolene range has been recognised by the EU. This investment will enable us to effectively make a fundamental step change in our technology as we aim to replace our filled components with next generation reinforcing additives.

"These additives offer excellent tensile properties that don’t detract from the appearance of the moulded compound, yet their adoption reduces weight by up to 12% per part and significantly improves scratch resistance to meet industry standards.

Luxus aims to gain a 2% share of the EU interior trim market by 2016 and is preparing a patent application for the new polymer technology process.

January HDPE prices increased in the Russian market

MOSCOW (MRC) - Prices for high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased in January in the Russian market.
At the same time there is a high probability of further HDPE price increases because of the ongoing rouble devaluation, as per ICIS-MRC Price Report.

The first working week of the year has been quite active. Contract prices of Russian HDPE for January delivery were finally agreed. Spot HDPE prices have increased proportionally to contract prices. Some HDPE producers did not exclude the further price increases.

Rouble devalues ??faster than PE prices have been falling in foreign markets, and it is possible that this situation will encourage producers to increase exports. Russian producers raised contract prices for HDPE January delivery on average by Rb2,000-3,000/tonne, compared to December.

Supply of HDPE is sufficient in the market, while the supply of injection moulding HDPE significantly increased after several months of shortage. There were available offers from the two producers: Kazanorgsintez and Gazprom neftekhim Salavat. Some market participants have reported disruptions in shipments of pipe PE, however, this factor does not have a serious impact in the market.

Buying activity was weak in the spot market this week. Many converters have made sufficient inventories at the end of December. Price offers for film HDPE were heard in the range of Rb84,500-87,000/tonne FCA, including VAT, up Rb2,000-3,000/tonne, compared with the December level.

Injection moulding HDPE prices increased to Rb88,000-91,000/tonne FCA, including VAT. Low price end for blow moulding PE was at Rb88,000/tonne FCA, including VAT, material availability in the market is limited, but there is no rush.

PET imports to Kazakhstan remained stable from January to November 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into Kazakhstan remained stable from January to November 2014 compared to the same period of 2013. The Kazakh market imported 48,600 tonnes of PET chips over the first eleven months of 2014, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The sharp fall in imports was registered since September 2014. Kazakh companies were actively increasing imports in the first half of 2014, expecting strong demand in the season. However, in late summer, players had significant stocks of finished products (preforms) and chips at their warehouses. The traditional autumn decrease in demand and carry-overs forced buyers to reduce imports of PET chips.

November imports to Kazakhstan slightly exceeded 1,200 tonnes. Imports fell by 27% from October.

Converters and traders reported weaker demand in the PET chips market in December.

Dow to establish new institute for advanced composites manufacturing innovation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Dow Chemical Company in partnership with its joint venture, DowAksa, and a consortium of composites-related businesses, academic leaders and government organizations, is pleased to have been selected by the Obama Administration to establish the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), reported Dow on its site.

IACMI will help advance the state of knowledge and commercialization of carbon fiber composites technology in response to market demands for strong, lightweight materials by creating a platform to overcome technological and cost barriers to the wide-scale adoption of carbon fiber composites in a variety of industrial sectors including pressure vessel, infrastructure and wind, and automotive.

A key example is the collaboration between Ford and DowAksa to develop manufacturing innovations in automotive-grade carbon fiber. IACMI creates a strategic platform for ongoing collaboration between the two companies, which began in 2012 with a joint development agreement between Ford and Dow to develop lost-cost, high-volume carbon fiber composites.

DowAksa, a 50/50 joint venture formed in 2012 between Dow and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S., one of the world’s largest acrylic fiber manufacturers based in Turkey, has become a leader in the production of carbon fiber and carbon fiber intermediates and high quality composite materials, which are extremely value for downstream high-tech manufacturing.

As MRC informed before, in November 2014, The Dow Chemical Company announced an increased divestiture target aligned to further enhance the value of its portfolio and support the company’s market-driven, integrated strategy. On track to complete its goal of realizing USD4.5 billion to USD6 billion in proceeds by year-end 2015, and with additional portfolio management actions underway, Dow is now increasing its divestiture target to USD7 billion to USD8.5 billion to be complete by mid-2016. Since 2013, the company has generated USD2.5 billion in proceeds, reallocating this capital to remunerate shareholders, fund growth and reduce debt.

Established in 2012, DowAksa is an international 50:50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S. Combining the strengths of both partners, the joint venture will manufacture and commercialize carbon fibers and derivatives with a specific focus on the energy, infrastructure and transportation markets.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. As of 2007, it is the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue (after BASF) and as of February 2009, the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization (after BASF and DuPont). Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.