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 global economy continues to be tentative in its sluggish drive to recover from the recession, impeded by European sovereign debt problems, China's slowing economy and the United States' continuing slow recovery and need for job creation. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reports that the U.S. manufacturing sector has contracted for the third time since July 2009.

Low-cost natural gas and fracking shale to withdraw even more natural gas are gaining ground. This could take more demand pressure away from petrochemicals and have a dampening effect on plastic resin prices that affect our industry. It's worth watching for trends. Crude oil and natural gas trended upward last month, with minimum disruption by Gulf hurricanes.

PE and PS and PVC resin prices track higher, while PP drifts lower and ETPs hold steady. Expect some selective sheet price increases in the fourth quarter of 2012 as well as some nylon UHMW and acetal semi-finished shapes.

Grainger introduced a mobile app for ordering MRO supplies, including plastics shapes – a trend that follows Amazon's approach to a market basket of product online. ZL engineering plastics inc opened an extrusion plant in Kansas, its first in the United States. Previously supplied product made by Zell-Metall in Austria. HD Supply reports sales growth of 9.8 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

Demand for flouropolymers is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2016 in the United States, totaling 198 million pounds. It represents a 5.3 percent annual increase with PTFE leading the way and PVDF in second place (source: Freedonia Group). According to the British Plastics Federation, Global demand for plastics will increase about 5 percent in the next two years. In 2011, 305 million metric tons were consumed. About 99 percent was derived from fossil fuels, though plastics production accounts for only 4 percent of overall fossil fuel usage. As expected, China will have the greatest growth in capacity.

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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