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 www.globalplasticsletter.com.
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY:
Industrial capacity is growing faster than use and manufacturers are investing in equipment that boosts productivity. Third quarter growth is expected to be 1.5-2.0 percent. Look for long-term interest rates to rise. Manufacturing is holding steady, with stubborn growth, almost everywhere: automotive; metal fabrication; electrical equipment construction and appliances. A slowdown, however, is still lurking due mostly to uncertainty in the Euro zone. Business spending will continue slowly upward despite some reluctance for banks to finance. Swings such as we have seen in stock markets will also be prevalent in measuring economic growth. Get set for a dynamic, unpredictable late 2013- early 2014 business climate. Our industry will be in for this ride, and it will be difficult to plan for the economic ups and downs.
Continuing shale exploration for natural gas; solar panels and oil at below US$100 per barrel are all energy moves worth watching for their effect on our industry. More oil from Libya, Angola and the United States and less demand based on global recessions are contributory. Expect continuing wild swings in all markets, including financial, petroleum and polymers, into 2014.
Most resin and therefore shapes prices have drifted lower and once again were down last month. The outlook for 2014 is for a continuation of this trend, with some selective exceptions, which will raise prices single digits in the fourth quarter of 2013, especially in PE, PP, PVC and nylon. Be watchful about ETPs, which will be market-driven rather than supply-demand or input-cost driven.
Celanese (formerly Ticona) introduces “breakthrough” technology for its UHMW-PE resin product at K 2013. It’s said to be the first major change in properties and applications in 60 years; look for shapes innovations. Gharda, India, is the newest entrant in HPMs, also announced at K 2013. Perstorp unveils clear co-polyester named Akestra(TM). Braskem and Styrolution form a joint venture for ABS resin production. Kydex LLC is developing innovative applications with an enhanced research and development team, going beyond aircraft interiors.
As 2013 enters its closing quarter it is noteworthy that some of the oldest companies representing distribution and fabrication in our industry are at least 75 years young. Considering that the companies that have not survived are counted on less than two hands, could plastics be a “recession proof” industry?
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.