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New Report Available: United States Petrochemicals Report Q3 2013

New Energy market report from Business Monitor International: "United States Petrochemicals Report Q3 2013"


Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/26/2013 -- US chemicals and petrochemicals industries are seeing solid, if unspectacular, growth. With ethane costs at a low level, US producers are on track for a robust performance in 2013, particularly those exposed to growth markets such as the slowly reviving construction sector. However, over the long term, doubts remain in relation to the viability of the planned surge in capacity, which will require export-led growth to absorb the increase in output.

The global economic outlook for US producers in 2013 continues to be challenging, with the European market remaining in a slump and its effects constraining global economic activity. However, US producers' advantage in ethane feedstock will continue to help pull them through. US high-density polyethylene exports soared 29% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 661,580 tonnes in the first four months of 2013, while lowdensity polyethylene exports grew 7.2% to 234,534 tonnes and linear low-density polyethylene rose 11% to 212,408 tonnes. Canada, Mexico and Brazil were the largest markets for US manufactured US in the January-April period.

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Within the manufacturing sector, output in several key chemistry end-use markets grew in H113, including rubber products, motor vehicles, machinery, fabricated metal products, plastics products, semiconductors, and computers. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported that its Chemical Activity Barometer three-month moving average index registered growth of 3.1%y-o-y and 0.1% month-on-month in May 2013, following a clear upward trend since mid-2012. According to ACC, gains were seen in the output of adhesives, coatings, chlor-alkali, consumer products, other specialties, and synthetic rubber which were partly offset by lower production of organic chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial gases, manmade fibres, plastic resins, fertilizers, and synthetic dyes and pigments.

Over the last quarter, BMI has revised the following views:

- During 2013, US ethylene producers will complete four incremental expansions and restart one production train, which should increase production capacity by at least 800,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). Demand for ethane is set to soar in H213 as the intensive cracker turnarounds carried out in H212 come to an end and North American producers expand their ethane processing capability. This could both raise feedstock prices and potentially create a glut in ethylene supply, squeezing margins. Gas prices will need to remain low compared to oil and demand remains adequate to absorb increased supply.
- Petrochemicals companies have acknowledged that the global economic recovery will be slow but are continuing to press ahead with at least six world-scale crackers in the US by 2016-2017. Over the forecast period, BMI expects 7.6mn tpa of extra ethylene capacity, an increase of over 28% on 2012 levels.

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