PC extrusion market in Russia grew by 9% in 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russia's production of polycarbonate (PC) for sheet extrusion grew to 79,500 tonnes in 2014, up 9% year on year, as per MRC ScanPlast.

Despite the reduction in injection and bottle sectors of the Russian PC market and 3% drop in PC granules consumption, extrusion segment in 2014 showed steady growth. Russia's imports of PC for sheet extrusion increased by 4% to 26,300 tonnes, while the total PC imports in the country fell by 8% in 2014. Production of PC for sheet extrusion in Russia increased by 8% in 2014 to 54,200 tonnes. Taking into consideration all above said we can speak about the trend of import substitution in the Russian PC market with the expansion of the segment.

The only PC maker in the CIS countries, Kazanorgsintez (KOS), over the past year has increased its market share from 65% to 67% in the extrusion sector on the back of the rouble devaluation and increase in the price for imported material. That is why converters have switched to the purchases of Russian PC granules.
Average monthly consumption of PC for sheet extrusion was 6,600 tonnes in 2014, while in 2013 in was 6,100 tonnes. In the high season (May and September), the monthly consumption exceeded 8,000 tonnes. Monthly capacity of Kazanorgsintez is almost 6,000 tonnes of PC.

The share of extrusion grades in total producer's PC production last year was 88%. The production rates at the company last year was 95%. The producer is unable to fully meet the demand even if the company refrains from the exports to foreign markets and will work at the full capacity.
Given the general deterioration of macroeconomic indicators in the Russian Federation, the producer will continue to be focused on the domestic market, as many converters will not afford to work with imported PC. Some market players said about the significant weakening of demand from the agricultural and construction sectors. It resulted from the cuts of the budget for the modernization in the agricultural sector, the weaker investments in the country, and the suspension of large-scale construction projects.


Imports of linear polyethylene in Russia rose by 1% in 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) in Russia grew by 1% in 2014. Key consumers of this type of polyethylene - the producers of the films showed minimal increase in demand, according to MRC DataScope.

December LLDPE imports in the country increased to 19,200 tonnes, compared with 16,900 tonnes in November because of stronger demand from the producers of films. Total LLDPE imports in the country increased to 212,000 tonnes in January - December 2014, compared to 210,400 tonnes year on year. Key consumers and drivers of growth in demand for LLDPE - the producers of the films showed last year minimal 1% increase in demand.
Structure of LLDPE imports over the reported period was as follows. Russia's imports of film LLDPE decreased to 18,000 tonnes in December, compared with 15,200 tonnes in November on the back of an increase in purchases from producers of multi-layer films. Total film LLDPE imports in the country slightly exceeded 189,000 tonnes in 2014, compared with 188,000 tonnes year on year.

December imports of LLDPE for rotational moulding (production of overall products) fell to the lowest level in the last few years to the less than 80 tonnes. Among the main reasons for this decline were rouble devaluation and falling prices in foreign markets. Total imports of LLDPE for rotational moulding in the country grew to 10,700 tonnes in 2014, up 4% year on year. Key LLDPE importers in the Russiain market over the reported period were Lotte Chemical and SCG Chemicals.

According to unofficial information, Nizhnekamskneftekhim plans to begin production of LLDPE for rotational moulding in 2015.
Imports of LLDPE in the other sectors of consumption (lamination, cable extrusion, compounding, extrusion of pipes, etc.) were 12,300 tonnes in 2014, compared with 12,000 tonnes.


Solvay introduces new Xydar LCP resin

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay Specialty Polymers has introduced Xydar MG-850 liquid crystal polymer (LCP), a new specially designed grade that meets the rigorous performance and processing demands of new high-speed USB 3.0 surface mount connectors, as per the company's press release.

This advanced new material delivers the high flow, flatness, and dimensional stability required for new 12-gigabyte connectors that target applications in desktop and laptop computers, as well as tablets.

"The connector industry’s adoption of advanced fine-pitch technology has placed even more exacting demands on materials," said Glenn Cupta, global business development manager for electrical/electronics at Solvay Specialty Polymers. "Xydar MG-850 LCP offers manufacturers exceptional performance for these next-generation connectors, providing even tighter tolerances and lower warpage compared to our standard LCP material."

Xydar MG-850 LCP is a 50% glass/mineral reinforced polymer that fills thin walls over long flow lengths. The proprietary mineral and glass reinforcement package provides excellent warp resistance. It also exhibits a heat deflection temperature of 271 C and infrared reflow capability up to 260 C. The material’s low moisture absorption facilitates improved IR reflow performance, according to Cupta.

Solvay’s new injection moldable grade offers performance advantages over competitive low-warp LCPs, and doesn’t suffer from corrosion issues exhibited by other rival material technologies, such as halogen-free flame retardant polyphthalamide (PPA) resins. Xydar LCP is inherently flame retardant, transparent to microwave radiation and resistant to virtually all chemicals.

As MRC informed previously, in October 2014, Swiss Solvay, a privately owned multinational chemicals company, unveiled its breakthrough innovation for surface cleaning formulations. While Mirapol Surf S polymers are a well-established range of polymers for hydrophilization of surfaces such as ceramic, glass, stainless steel, Solvay launches a unique technology enabling formulators to deliver the key benefits consumers now expect for even modern plastic surfaces. With Mirapol Surf N, Solvay makes a step change in household cleaning making it effortless and longer-lasting.

Solvay S.A. is a Belgian chemical company founded in 1863, with its head office in Neder-Over-Heembeek, Brussels, Belgium. The company has diversified into two major sectors of activity: chemicals and plastics. Solvay supplies over 1500 products across 35 brands of high-performance polymers – fluoropolymers, fluoroelastomers, fluorinated fluids, semi-aromatic polyamides, sulfone polymers, aromatic ultra polymers, high-barrier polymers and cross-linked high-performance compounds.

Restart of operations underway at Haldia Petrochemicals plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- After a prolonged closure, the Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) plant is in the process of re-starting operations with the trial run to begin in the near future, as per Plastemart.

"The captive power plant has been commissioned as a pre-start up activity. The main plant start-up should happen anytime now," a source in HPL told PTI, adding that stabilisation of the power plant would take some days, after which steps would be initiated for operating the mother plant, closed since July 2014.

Earlier, the West Bengal Government had provided Rs. 100 crore as margin money as demanded by the lenders, while the other promoter, TCG, was yet to furnish that amount. TCG has agreed to come up with the margin money, while the lenders have also committed funds for running the plant.

As MRC wrote before, in mid-July 2014, the manufacturing plant of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd was shut down after the naphtha cracker unit developed a technical snag. Earlier, the Haldia plant was running at 50% capacity for long due to working capital crunch.

Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd is a modern naphtha based petrochemical complex at Haldia, West Bengal, India. Haldia has played the role of a catalyst in emergence of more than 500 downstream processing industries in West Bengal with a capacity to process more than 3,50,000 TPA of polymers, among which are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

PET consumption in Kazakhstan rose by 5% in 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Market capacity of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in Kazakhstan increased in 2014 by 5% year on year and totalled 54,400 tonnes, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

To dat, there is no production of PET chips in Kazakhstan. Local bottlers and converters meet the needs of the Kazakh market by imported Chinese and Korean PET. China and Korea are the main PET chips suppliers.

At the same time, Chinese grades accounted for 59% of the total imports of material for the production of PET preforms in 2014, whereas Korean grades accounted for 41%. Last year's share of other countries-suppliers was low and was less than 1%.

The growth in consumption was achieved because of a surge in shipments in December, as the overall consumption of material in the market remained stable from January to November 2014 compared to the same period of 2013. December PET imports totalled 5,800 tonnes, up by almost 5 times than imports in November.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, spot prices of Asian bottle grade PET fell again in the domestic Kazakh market last week. On the average, traders made discounts of Tenge 5,000-10,000/tonne to customers. The price range dropped to Tenge 240,000-260,000/tonne CPT Almaty, including VAT.