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

The macro economic view is that the global economy is both struggling and recovering. Those effects are felt selectively and geographically. During the run-up to the U.S. Presidential election this fall, we expect economic indicators will all be pointing upwards, except for employment, as technology and productivity remain robust. Look for the most economic growth in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as these countries continue to expand from low starting points. Inflation is expected to be held in check in most sectors, although our industry will continue to experience higher than average rates of increase as demand surges in BRICS. GDP growth in the United States is forecast at 2-3 percent with spending cutbacks on a macro governmental basis, holding back full expansion.

Don't read too much into the recent drop in gasoline prices. Middle East unrest, refinery glitches, summer travel and other factors remain, so look for another uptick by July. Sustained price drops in April and May typically don't last. The last time that happened was in 2005. Natural gas remains priced low and it continues to perform as an alternative to oil for energy. Look for copper prices to fall further as reduced demand by China, the globe's largest consumer, and slow growth in Europe take effect. This change, of course, lowers demand for new metal-replacing applications by plastics.

Most polyolefin commodity resins continue slow but steady climbs as costs move upward. ETPs and HIPS are also on an up cycle as demand continues to grow. Lucite acrylic sheet was taken upward April 1 in the United States and in Europe on 1 June. Look for PC to follow.

Evonik establishes JV with Ampglas Plastics in South Africa for production of extruded Plexiglas® (Acrylite® in the Americas).Bayer MaterialScience to acquire the Tuffak® PC sheet business of Arkema; will move the Connecticut plant to its Kentucky facility and combine production capabilities.

Amazon Supply starts up a mega online catalog of 500,000 MRO items for the business-to-business industrial and scientific market. Significantly, approximately 25,000 are in plastics shapes and semi-finished products. McMaster Carr, MSC, Grainger and US Plastics may be affected as their infrastructure of online order fulfillment, without much technical service, seems timely. They offer free shipping for orders over $50.00 and one year return privilege. However, the effect on traditional multi branch distributors with a brick and mortar presence remains to be seen.

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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