Guest Columnist

Mel Ettenson’s Global Plastics News

IAPD is pleased to announce that Mel Ettenson will be a guest columnist each month in the IAPD News offering unique content for IAPD members. We are pleased to welcome Mel and his monthly column.


The global economy continues to be tentative in its sluggish drive to recover from The Great Recession, what with several European sovereign debt problems. Expect the European Central Bank to cut its main interest rate soon, amid worsening economic conditions in Greece. The central bank will also extend unlimited short-term loans to Euro banks with significant sovereign debt holdings.


Low cost natural gas and expensive oil are reviving interest in gas to liquids (GTL) refining; i.e. refining motor fuel from natural gas. The economics of this process, now viable, are being acted upon by petroleum giant Shell in Qatar, which could drive crude oil prices even lower than evidenced in recent months. This could take more demand pressure away from petrochemicals and thus put a dampening effect on plastic resin prices that affect our industry. This phenomenon is worth watching for trends.


PS and PE prices headed lower; PVDF headed higher; PET feedstocks indicate an upward trend.

In the Engineering thermoplastics sector, ABS, PC, PA and PP prices are headed slightly downward, as benzene and butadiene prices, based on lower demand, drift lower.


Bayer MaterialScience, LLC introduces high pressure forming (HPF) PC film, Makrofol® HF 278 G-4 with initial applications in the automotive industry. Despite its cumbersome designation, it offers good formability along with usual PC advantages of superior scratch resistance. Specialty pipe maker Insituform recently acquired Hockaway Ltd.,UK and UAE as well as Fyfe Group, North American, European and Latin American operations. SABIC’S LNP Verton long glass fibre composite is now being used as reuseable concrete forms in major Mexican construction site.


Plastic industry trade shows are showing interest and attendance levels back to the record setting numbers last seen in pre 2007-2008. Interplas, the major UK exposition, held September 27-29, resulted in 9,000 attendees and 300 exhibitors. NPE 2012, a major North American trade show with global reach, is scheduled for April 1-5, 2012 in Orlando, Florida (first year not held in Chicago) and attendance expected to reach record levels. New high strength aromatic polyamide is seen replacing metals in critical applications.

Customers in the plastic semi-finished shapes industry have far more expectations for personalized/value-added services due to e-commerce changing their behavior. With more complex demands, it becomes more important to find out what value you can drive to your customer — i.e. speed, better quality, proactive communication, visibility, transparency and personalized solutions. Ask your customers about the values they are seeking. They will tell you


About Mel Ettenson
During his 40-plus years in the plastics business, Ettenson always wondered why there wasn't a single, concise, reliable source of information about our industry. 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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