Kao Thailand Collaborates with SCGC and Dow to Pioneer Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Kao Thailand Collaborates with SCGC and Dow to Pioneer Sustainable Packaging Solutions

MRC -- In a significant stride towards sustainable business practices, three major companies, namely Kao, SCGC, and Dow, officially sealed their commitment through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Dow Thailand's headquarters in True Digital Park West, said Chemanalyst.

The ceremony, attended by key figures including Kao Thailand President Yuji Shimizu, SCGC Executive Director Pisan Uawithya, and Dow Thailand President Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai, marked the commencement of a strategic partnership aimed at advancing sustainable packaging solutions.

Kao, a prominent Japanese consumer products manufacturer renowned for brands such as Attack, Biore, Haiter, Laurier, and Magiclean, is poised to integrate innovative, sustainable packaging across an extensive array of products within its Thai portfolio in the near future. The collaboration is driven by a shared commitment to the principles of the 4R framework: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Replace, in alignment with Kao's broader ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) strategy termed the 'Kirei Lifestyle Plan.'

Expressing enthusiasm about this collaborative venture, Kao Thailand President Yuji Shimizu emphasized the company's dedication to achieving Zero Carbon Emission by 2040. In line with this goal, Kao is intensifying efforts in energy conservation within its production facilities and implementing sustainable design and development practices throughout the entire product lifecycle to mitigate carbon emissions. Furthermore, Kao has set a target of achieving net zero waste plastic packaging by 2040. Shimizu underscored the importance of partnering with expert and like-minded entities such as Dow and SCGC to fulfill these ambitious goals and create eco-friendly packaging solutions that genuinely benefit consumers.

SCGC, with a steadfast focus on sustainability through the lens of a circular economy, brings its commitment to green solutions to the collaboration. Pisan Uawithya, SCGC Executive Director, highlighted the company's dedication to developing diverse green alternatives tailored to the sustainability concerns of brand owners and consumers. Specifically, in collaboration with Kao, SCGC aims to leverage its expertise in designing and developing bottles and packaging bags using innovative green plastics from SCGC GREEN POLYMER™. Uawithya emphasized the goal of creating sustainable packaging for Kao's products, promoting resource efficiency, and aligning with the circular economy principle within Thailand.

We remind, a proposed regulation currently under consideration by the Ministry of Justice aims to legalize the utilization of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET), specifically reusing plastic bottles, for food packaging purposes. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a versatile plastic derived from petroleum, is commonly used for packaging both food and non-food items. The bill, initiated by officials at the Environmental Protection Authority but subsequently drafted by experts from the Ministry of Industry and the Food and Beverage Industry Research and Development Center a year ago, is currently in the review stage with stakeholders.

mrchub.com

NextDecade files to allow TotalEnergies to exit LNG stake

NextDecade files to allow TotalEnergies to exit LNG stake

MRC -- NextDecade has filed for a shelf registration that would allow TotalEnergies to sell its 17.5% stake in the U.S. LNG company over time, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

A unit of French oil major TotalEnergies currently holds 44.9 million shares of NextDecade, bought for $219 million in June as part of a broader deal to develop NextDecade's Rio Grande LNG export project in south Texas that has faced repeated delays.

NextDecade, which signed a contract to supply 5.4 million tons of LNG per year to TotalEnergies, said in a filing dated Dec. 22 it would not receive any proceeds from any such future offerings.

The prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registers the shares owned by TotalEnergies and enables them to sell them in the future, said NextDecade spokesperson Susan Richardson.

"There is no current offering of shares. While we cannot control the actions of our shareholders...we view them as a long-term strategic partner," Richardson said. TotalEnergies' decision is likely a reflection that, having helped get the LNG facility to a final investment decision, an equity position was no longer required, said Rapidan Energy Group Research Director Alex Munton.

"The equity investment in Next Decade may have been needed to help Rio Grande being financed, and that now the project the under construction TotalEnergies may have decided that there is little value in holding onto its position, as the overriding interest is in the offtake volumes, which it was able to secure at low cost", Munton said.

We remind, Diesel supply in Asia is set to jump in 2024 fueled by new refineries in the Middle East and robust exports from China, and is likely to outpace the region's world-leading demand growth, analysts and trade sources said. As a result, diesel prices are expected to fall, meaning Asia's refiners face a second consecutive year of sliding profit margins for the fuel used in cars, trucks and power generators.

mrchub.com

Workers threaten 2-d strike at Neste oil refinery in Finland

Workers threaten 2-d strike at Neste oil refinery in Finland

MRC -- Finland's Industrial Union said on Thursday it planned two days of labor strike action at Neste's Porvoo oil refinery, likely shutting the plant's production unless the government agrees to change its proposed labor market reforms, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Finnish unions have protested in recent months against the right-wing government's plan to favor local work agreements over centralized bargains, limit political strikes and make it easier to terminate work contracts.

"We hope that the suspension of oil refining will make the government realize that it cannot put the entire burden of public finances on the shoulders of workers," shop steward Sami Ryynanen at the Porvoo refinery said in a statement.

A strike at Porvoo is scheduled for Feb. 1-2 of 2024, the Industrial Union said. "If the strike were to take place, it would lead to the shutdown of Neste's Porvoo refinery which must be carried out in an orderly and safe manner," a Neste spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

We remind, Companies across many sectors on Wednesday signed initial investment pacts totaling $18.75 B for projects they will build in India's western state of Gujarat, according to a government statement. As part of the deals, an arm of Welspun Enterprises will invest $5.11 B, partly to build green hydrogen and green ammonia facilities, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

mrchub.com

R-LLDPE Market Faces Downturn Amid Oversupply and sluggish downstream Demand

R-LLDPE Market Faces Downturn Amid Oversupply and sluggish downstream Demand

MRC -- In the Arabian Recycled Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (R-LLDPE) market, an ongoing trend of declining prices persists, driven by challenges related to the diminishing price support for scrap LLDPE materials and the increasing rates of post-consumer product collection, said Chemanalyst.

These factors pose obstacles to the sustainable growth of R-LLDPE recyclers. The market landscape is further complicated by a marginal weakening in the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI). On the supply side, an oversupply situation of R-LLDPE, coupled with ample inventories, and subdued procurement activities from overseas markets during the current seasonal phase, contribute to weakened export dynamics. Suppliers are responding with consistent discount offerings to incentivize larger volume purchases. However, the downstream industry is grappling with heightened freight rates with increased shipping cost, prompted by security concerns following attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Consequently, the European R-LLDPE market remains stable, reflecting the impact of elevated import costs for the product.

The Arabian market is grappling with an oversupply scenario, sustained by an unaltered production capacity of R-LLDPE material, which has established a bearish sentiment. This situation poses a challenge for suppliers in effectively managing excess inventory. The R-LLDPE market faces downward price pressure attributed to weakened product procurement activities during the Christmas holidays, influenced by reduced downstream industrial production and manufacturing activities for the final finished product with fewer staff members available during the holiday season. Enterprises are leaning towards immediate stock procurement rather than engaging in bulk purchases, contributing to subdued trading activities and the persistence of oversupply. The intricate interplay of these factors presents challenges for R-LLDPE suppliers, navigating a market influenced by both oversupply and specific weaknesses within certain sectors.

In the European market, the R-LLDPE sector is experiencing the impact of reduced demand from major recycling industries such as Packaging and automotive parts manufacturing industries. However, during the third week of December R-LLDPE prices remained steady due to rising import cost, but at its lower end. This influence has set off a series of reactions within the market. The reduction in industrial production and manufacturing activities has led to a decline in R-LLDPE demand from these pivotal sectors. These intricate market dynamics present considerable challenges for recyclers striving to achieve sustainable growth in the market. Furthermore, the absence of changes in the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has cast a shadow over the overall growth prospects of the market, introducing an additional layer of complexity to the market landscape.

We remind, Recycled Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (R-LLDPE) market showcased a downward trend in the European market in the third week of June 2023. According to sources, the price of R-LLDPE translucent pellets decreased by (0.7%) in Germany when compared with the previous week. Overall consumption of R-LLDPE showed a deep contraction from the downstream packaging and plastic industries and failed to regain momentum in the European region.

mrchub.com

China Witnesses an 82% Decline in VAM Exports for November

China Witnesses an 82% Decline in VAM Exports for November

MRC -- In November this year, China's vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) exports took a sharp nosedive, recording a staggering 81.7% drop compared to the preceding month, said Chemanalyst.

The export volume for the said month barely touched 1.88 thousand tons, an alarming contrast when set against the 10.26 thousand tons documented in October.

When analyzing the data on a year-on-year basis for November, the picture that emerges is equally disconcerting. China's exports of VAM registered a significant drop of 49.4%, boiling down to a total of 3.71 thousand tons. This downturn was accompanied by a cumulative decline of 23.1% in exports from January to November 2023, which amounted to 72.03 thousand tons. This figure represents a sizable reduction when compared to the same period in the preceding year.

Earlier in the year, June also bore witness to a similar trend in China's VAM exports. When compared to May, the VAM supplies exported to global markets contracted by 52.6%. A total of 4.38 thousand tons were exported in June, marking a considerable decrease from the 9.24 thousand tons reported in May. The year-on-year data for June further emphasized this downward trend, with exports decreasing by 25.6% and totaling 5.88 thousand tons.

The unwavering reductions in VAM exports, observed both on a monthly and yearly basis, suggest a trend possibly driven by various factors. These may include disruptions in the supply chain, alterations in market preferences, and economic instability. Stakeholders involved in the international chemical trade and industry are likely to closely monitor these developments, in a bid to comprehend the underlying causes and potential implications on the broader market.

The significant reduction in China's export of Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) is an issue of concern for all stakeholders involved. The reasons behind this drastic drop need to be identified and addressed promptly to prevent further losses. The global market dynamics are constantly changing, and it is essential for businesses to stay abreast of these changes to maintain their competitive edge. The decrease in VAM exports from China is a clear indication of the volatile nature of the global trade environment.

The sharp decrease in China's VAM exports in November of this year is a concerning trend that needs immediate attention. Stakeholders in the international chemical trade and industry must closely monitor these developments and take necessary actions to mitigate the impact on the global market. To navigate the complexities of the global trade environment successfully, a keen understanding of the market dynamics and a proactive approach to addressing issues are crucial.

We remind, Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) prices have surged globally due to consistent force majeure events impacting acetic acid and VAM prices. VAM prices had previously dropped by 33% YTD as the supply chain relaxed when the US Fed aggressively increased interest rates to control inflation, ranging between 5.25% and 5.5%. Another development included the US Fed hinting at 3 rate cuts in FY24, contributing to bullish markets and factoring in the subsequent price surge.

mrchub.com