Europe PE buyers to face Jan hikes on soaring feedstocks

(ICIS) -- European polyethylene (PE) producers are already talking of January price increases even before December discussions get fully under way, sources said on Monday. ⌠Cracker margins are squeezed. We will continue the battle into January, said one major producer.

PE buyers were finding themselves increasingly under pressure to accept higher prices in a month when they had expected some relief. The weak euro meant that imported volumes were down and availability was affected by production problems. There was also still some overhang from the French strikes at the end of October, which tightened availability.

The level of demand in December had taken many sellers by surprise. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) injection market in particular sought to understand why product availability had become so tight, when only weeks before buyers had expected to be able to get a modest decrease in December.

One reason that HDPE grades were not in such oversupply as buyers had expected was the lack of imported material. This was exacerbated by the weak euro rate versus the dollar, and delays in new Middle Eastern capacities.

Another reason was the very low profit margins in the HDPE sector in Europe. Net HDPE prices had been barely above the ethylene contract price for many weeks, and producers were now refusing to provide supplementary volumes to regular clients at the contract level.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) availability continued to be tight, and some producers envisaged a situation where LDPE would be structurally undersupplied and command a permanent premium over other PE grades.


New IRPC 160,000 tpa propylene unit

(Plastemart) -- Thailand's IRPC plans to build a 160,000 tpa propylene plant by 2014, subject to board approval, as per Platts. The location and the value of the project are not known.

The new plant will help meet all of IRPC's feedstock requirements to make polypropylene, and create a surplus of propylene that will be used to produce more specialty products.

At present, IRPC has a total propylene capacity of 312,000 tpa from its steam cracker in Rayong province. The unit is able to run at 11% above its nameplate capacity. In addition, IRPC currently buys propylene from shareholder PTT in order to make polypropylene.


Iran's non-oil exports have reached $20.30 billion

(Press TV) -- Iran's non-oil exports have reached $20.30 billion in the first eight months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 to November 21). Iranian Customs Administration Director Ardeshir Mohammadi made the remarks on Saturday, noting that the value of the country's non-oil export marked a 26-percent increase compared to the corresponding period of the last year.

Mohammadi went on to say that the weight of non-oil exports in the mentioned time span amounted to 44,083 million tons, which means a 27.2-percent growth, underlining that the non-oil exports, exclusive of gas condensates, hit $17.13 billion, marking a hike of 31 percent, ISNA reported.

The official also said the main non-oil product exported in the time span was liquefied propane with $900 million, noting that the product accounted for 5.25 percent of the total non-oil exports.

The next major product exported was polyethylene film grade, with a share of $865 million of the country's total non-oil exports. The main importer of Iranian products was China with a total import value of $3.094 billion which is about 18 percent of the non-oil exports.


Qapco opens new representative office in Istanbul

(Gulf Times) -- Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco) has opened its new representative office in Istanbul, Turkey.

Qapco director and general manager Dr Mohamed Yousef al-Mulla reiterated the importance of the Turkish market for Qapco, which has been supplying low-density polyethylene (LDPE) to customers in the country for more than 20 years. The office will help Qapco consolidate its position as a leading exporter of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) to the country, he said.

Ambassador al-Abdul Ghani highlighted the ⌠exceptional relationship between Qatar and Turkey and said the bilateral trade has now exceeded $2bn. Currently, Qapco's LDPE products are sold to more than 4,500 customers in some 85 countries.


GPCA chief hopeful of end to India-Middle East ADD row

(ICIS) -- The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) is hopeful that the trade dispute over antidumping duties on polymers between India and the Middle East will soon be resolved, the association chief said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia and Oman, along with Singapore, were slapped with tariffs on polypropylene (PP) shipments to India, upon determination that dumping of the material was taking place. Saudi Arabia had threatened to bring up the case before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if India did not retract its trade policy.

⌠We are optimistic that a win-win situation for all will be found soon, GPCA secretary general Abdulwahab al-Sadoun told ICIS in a phone interview. The trade squabbles between India and the Middle Eastern countries may be discussed on the sidelines of the 5th annual GPCA meeting in Dubai, which will run from 7-9 December, he said.