Guest Columnist

Mel Ettenson’s Global Plastics News

IAPD is pleased to welcome Mel Ettenson as a guest columnist each month in the IAPD News offering unique content for IAPD members.

The column below is only a sample of the Global Plastics News. If you are interested in learning more about the entire publication, visit

Overall, economies are continuing to move at the same pace as recent months, with third quarter growth expected to be 2.0 - 3.5 percent. Manufacturing is expanding almost everywhere: the automotive, metal fabrication, electrical equipment, appliances and, of course, high-tech sectors are leading this bounce. Swings such as we have seen in stock markets will also be prevalent in measuring economic growth. Still, we’re seeing an unpredictable and difficult-to-plan-for business climate in 2013, with our industry along for the ride. Reports are that single-digit revenue growth will prevail this year, with profits tracking.

Numerous energy moves are worth tracking, because they all can impact our industry. Of note is oil sand drilling, shale exploration for natural gas, solar panels and oil exceeding US$100 per barrel due to Egypt’s uncertainty affecting Middle East oil supplies. Expect continuing wild swings in all markets, including financial, petroleum and polymers. This pre-supposes no disruption of supply caused by political unrest in the Middle East. The growing supply of natural gas is good news for industrial users, especially those who manufacture formaldehyde-based polymers such as acetal. Coming next year: Watch for new display technology for smart phones and tablets replacing today’s LCDs and OLEDs. They will be energy misers compared to existing technology that consumes much power while processing data above and below the cloud.

Most resin and therefore shapes prices continue to be soft and have backed down last month. The outlook is for a continuation of this trend, with some selective exceptions. Plan for this scenario to continue throughout 2013 but keep watchful about ETPs, which will be market-driven rather than supply-demand or input-cost driven. Of course, disruptions in basic petrochemical supply due to geopolitical events are omnipresent.

Lanxess moves it corporate headquarters to Cologne, Germany. Celanese and Ticona will showcase their Engineering Plastics product line at K 2013, October 16-23, 2013 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Medical tubing manufacturer Eldon James, diversifies into the beverage market, offering new competition for the first time, with antimicrobial and PVC-free tubing products, to St. Gobain’s Tygon product line.  

The “Amazonization” of our industry, with Amazon Supply and now including “Google Shopping for Suppliers,” a beta test, throws some new ideas into the mix. Grainger responds and others are planning new forays into b-to-b industrial e-commerce. This is big and evolutionary.


About Mel Ettenson
THE GLOBAL PLASTICS LETTER is a quick, highly informative plastics newsletter - to the point and timely enough to act on. In just four pages it packs relevant news, information and insights, with a primary focus on sheet, rod, tube and film, plastic semi finished shapes, plastic basic shapes, semi-finished plastics, plastic sheet rod tube and film. The newsletter covers pricing trends, market moves, new and upcoming products and services in the plastics industry.



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