A MARKET UPDATE for OCTOBER 2010

Special Message:

We are still near the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and despite the fact that there have been few landfalls by tropical storms or hurricanes it has been a very active season. We are currently watching what could soon be Tropical Storm “Paula” in the Western Caribbean. This will be a very slow moving storm but may present a threat to areas of the Gulf and especially Northwest Florida.

Many products remain very tight but there is a feeling that the ravenous build up of inventory has waned. At TCC we have termed the current business environment as “business as usual.” This doesn’t mean that products that have been tight aren’t any longer, or that the overall picture has changed in terms of supply and demand. This means that demand has “normalized” and this could eventually lead to a more balanced supply and demand environment.

Icis Chemical Business Magazine has named TCC the 37th largest North American Chemical Distributor. TCC has grown only with the support of our customers and suppliers. We would like to thank all of you for our success! The 2010 APLA (Latin American Petrochemical and Chemical Association) is quickly approaching. The Chemical Company is pleased to announce that we will be attending this prestigious meeting involving the key players of the Latin America Petrochemical industry. The APLA has set the benchmark for cooperation and communication across the industry and this will be The Chemical Company’s third year with representation at the annual APLA conference.

This year’s conference will be held from November 6th through the 9th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To make an appointment please contact Javier Fernandez (Javier@thechemco.com) or call +1401.423.3100.

We look forward meeting with you!

En Espanol:
El APLA 2010 se nos aproxima. The Chemical Company tiene el agrado de anunciar que va a estar presente en este prestigioso evento que reúne a los principales participantes de la industria petroquímica en América Latina. El APLA ha fijado el punto de referencia para la cooperación y la comunicación entre la industria y este será el tercer año que The Chemical Company tiene representación en la conferencia anual de APLA.

La conferencia de este año se llevará a cabo del 06 al 9 de Noviembre en Río de Janeiro, Brasil. Para hacer una cita por favor contactar con Javier Fernández (Javier@thechemco.com) o llame al +1401.423.3100.

Esperamos reunirnos con usted!

Portuguese:
APLA 2010 está rapidamente se aproximando. The Chemical Company tem o prazer de anunciar que vai estar presente neste encontro de prestígio envolvendo os principais intervenientes da indústria petroquímica da América Latina. APLA fixou o valor de referência para a cooperação e comunicação entre a indústria e isso vai ser o terceiro ano de The Chemical Company, com representação na conferência anual APLA.

A conferência deste ano será realizada de 06 de Novembro através do 9 no Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Para marcar uma consulta entre em contato com Javier Fernandez (Javier@thechemco.com) ou ligue para +1 401.423.3100. Esperamos encontro com você!

TCC News:

TCC welcomes the newest addition to our International Logistics Staff, Jason Tomchik! To contact Jason regarding our logistical needs please call (401) 360-2800 or email him at jtomchik@thechemco.com

Myriant Technologies reports that they are on track to meet the full scale production goal of Q1 2012 for bio- based succinic acid. We are expecting pilot scale quantities by Spring of 2011. Due to the limited availability and extreme price of Adipic Acid many users in both technical and food applications are looking at this bio-based alternative.

Biobased Succinic Acid

Habla Español??? The TCC website is now in Spanish!

Events:

November 6-9 2010 Latin American Petrochemical Annual Meeting
Reunion Annual Latinoamerciana de Petroquimica
October 27-29, 2010 IFAI EXPO Americas
October 27 – Nov. 3 K Show Düsseldorf, Germany

Downloadable Brochure

click here to download/view

Products In Transit/ Available Soon

2- Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate Drums( In Stock! )

2- Hydroxypropyl Methacrylate Drums

Succinic Acid Small Bags

Malic Acid Small Bags ( In Transit )

90% Phenol Drums (Available Now!)

Fumaric Acid Big Bags (In Stock and Available Now!)

Maleic Anhydride Briquettes (In Stock and Available Now!)

Citric Acid (In Stock and Available Now!)

Acetyl TriButyl Citrate (In Stock and Available Now!)

New/ Updated Technical Information (hyperlinked):

Adipic Acid

Citric Acid

Dicyandiamide

Diisononyl Phthalate

Methanol

Malic Acid

Fumaric Acid

ChemFlexx DiOctyl Adipate

New Products:

Succinic Acid is a dicarboxylic acid comprised of four carbon atoms. The chemical is produced as a colorless crystalline solid and is used in the drug, agriculture, food products, and other industries.
Spec: Succinic Acid

NP500 Non- Phthalate Plasticizer Non-phthalate plasticizer to replace general purpose phthalate plasticizers like DOP, DOTP and DINP. Drums, Totes and Bulk Available.
Spec: ChemFlexx NP500

NP600 Non- Phthalate Plasticizer Non-phthalate plasticizer to replace the general purpose phthalate plasticizers DIDP. Drums, Totes and Bulk Available.
Spec: ChemFlexx NP600

NatureFlexx 509 100% Phthalate Free General Purpose Plasticizer! This high molecular weight plasticizer is an excellent, phthalate free replacement for general purpose phthalate plasticizers like DINP, DOP, DOTP, Etc. Drums, Totes and Bulk Available.
Spec: NatureFlexx 509

Malic Acid A suttle and persistent sour in food applications as well as an excellent acidulant. New technical applications are being discovered as well. Food and Technical Grade material is in stock and immediately available. Packaging is 25 Kg. Bags, 2,000 lb. Supersacks and a 50% solution.
Spec: DL Malic Acid

Please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com or Tel: (401) 423- 3100 for more information.

We appreciate your taking the time to review this newsletter. We welcome your comments as well as contributions regarding our readers’ company/industry activities. Please send them to Bob Beavins at chemcobob@comcast.net

**Please note that all products are now in Alphabetical Order and many products are hyperlinked to their own information page.**

Critical Raw Materials Markets

At the end of each paragraph you will notice a symbol and the meaning of these symbols are as follows:

+ Denotes upward pricing momentum
\ Denotes stable pricing momentum
– Denotes downward pricing momentum

Benzene
US October Benzene contract settled up $.065/ gallon to $3.075/ gallon. Spot prices are currently in the$3.15-3.26 gallon range. +

Natural Gas
Prices decreased during late September across most of the lower 48 as demand is normally lower during the first weeks of fall. Current spot pricing ~ $3.65/MMBtu compared to ~$4.90 in early August. October contract reported at ~$3.85/MMBtu. Inventories continue above historical levels.

Oil
Oil pricing has increased over the last month and is currently in the $80’s per barrel range. Current spot prices in the $83/bbl range; futures are similar. + /

Check thechemco.com for up to the minute info.

Orthoxylene
October contracts settled at $.49/lb, an increase of $.035/lb. from August. +

Propylene
October contracts decreased by $0.015 from September at $.57 for chemical Grade and $.585/ lb. for polymer grade

Chemicals Markets

Adipic Acid:
Adipic Acid remains extremely tight despite lower priced offers from China. The Western Hemisphere Supply picture has not changed yet and demand continues to be solid from all customer categories. Benzene values are under pressure and will have an effect on Adipic pricing in short order. If Tropical Storm “Paula” forms in the Western Caribbean it could threaten 100% of current North American Capacity. /

Ammonia:
Ammonia pricing may have peaked. International pricing pushed prices higher in September but prices stalled at approx. US$420/ met ton fob NOLA and $365/ met ton delivered in Tampa. /

Ammonium Nitrate:
The recent closure of Dyno Nobel’s plant in Maitland, ONT has kept supply and demand pressure on ammonium nitrate. Also the rising cost of Ammonia will further pressure pricing. Luckily this is the tail end of the large demand season. We expect increased prices and supply interruptions this coming spring. /+

Antimony Trioxide:
Sellers continue to push for higher prices but demand has backed off with the record high prices. Material is arriving that was purchased at lower prices so this may lend some relief to the extreme push for higher prices. /

Dicyandiamide:
Prices are moderately stable and demand remains relatively soft. /

Epoxidized Soybean Oil:
Soy bean pricing has moved up steadily over the last month or so and ESO pricing has followed. Most majors have announced or implemented an increase based on the escalation in raw material costs. Demand is seen as good. +

Fumaric Acid:
FA Pricing is balanced but it is not yet clear whether the global operating issues are tightening supply and pushing prices higher. /

Glycol (Mono, Di and Tri):
MEG – Material is extremely tight. Spot pricing is $.385/ lb fob. Increase announcements of $.02- $.03/ lb. we announced for October bringing benchmarks to $.47- $.50/ lb. +

DEG prices have been on the increase in North America but have recently eased. There was no increase announced for October thus benchmarks remain at US$.69- $.72/ lb. +/

Triethylene Glycol price increase announcements ranged from US$0.00 to US$.04/ lb. TEG is expected to be extremely tight this Winter as seasonal demand could outstrip supply. +

Isophthalic Acid:
Pricing has leveled and the supply picture has improved. Allocations have eased on better availability. /

Maleic Anhydride:
Prices remain largely unchanged for October to follow the stable market environment in September. Butane price pressure and increased demand could push prices up by year’s end. /

Malic Acid:
Malic Acid supply is extremely limited with one producer still out and another down for maintenance. Pricing is stable but under pressure as demand has outstripped supply. ++

Melamine:
Melamine pricing has been under pressure due to increase Urea pricing. Also a dumping investigation has begun against Chinese manufacturers. This will certainly have an effect on pricing in the future. / +

Methanol:
The Methanex Non-Discounted Reference Price for October remained at US$1.08/ gallon. Spot pricing moved up quite a bit last week on logistics issues around the Houston Ship Channel and anticipation of the M5000 scheduled maintenance outage. Spot pricing is currently in the $1.04/ gallon range. Demand is seen as improving with seasonal demand kicking in. + /

Notes:

  • We expect contract pricing to rise for November 2010.
  • Trinidad’s M5000 plant is scheduled to be taken off line for 30-35 days in mid- October. This will take approx. 225k tons out of the market for this period.
  • The AMPCO plants in Equatorial Guinea are also expected to go down for maintenance.
  • Methanex has announced that they will re-start their Kitimat, BC plant during the first half of 2011.
  • Methanex will no longer offer commercial volumes of methanol from the Woodward, OK plant effective Jan.1, 2011.
  • European Contract pricing has yet to be established for Q4 2010.

Nitric Acid:
Nitric Acid pricing has moved up some $20- $50/ ton based on increased ammonia pricing and rationalization causing shortages. Continued rationalization will pressure pricing in the coming months/ years. /

Phenolic Resins:
Prices have declined slightly in line with underlying values. A limited number of players have resulted in very few options for consumers and many have opted to seek toll manufacturing opportunities. . /

Phthalic Anhydride:
Prices will increased by US$.03/ lb. in November in line with orthoxylene pricing. Demand has seasonally slowed in North America. +

Plasticizers and Plasticizer Alcohols:
Plasticizer Alcohol supply remains the main concern, but demand seems to be softening in certain markets (i.e. automotive, housing, etc.) The lack of plasticizer alcohol availability, especially isononyl alcohol, have kept supplies of plasticizers limited and in some cases allocated. The higher plasticizer alcohols are expected to be tight for the remainder of 2010 yet 2-EH seems to be heading toward balance.

The price of oil (upwards of $80/ barrel) and Orthoxylene (up $.055/ lb. over the last two months) will pressure Plasticizer and Plasticizer Alcohol cost and unless it reverses course will eventually put enough pressure on for a price increase announcement.

The lack of availability in specialty, non-phthalate and phthalate free plasticizers seems to be improving, yet one major is said to be exiting Adipate plasticizers in North America. TCC offers our own ChemFlexx DiOctyl Adipate for those seeking alternate supply.

TCC Plasticizers available:
Non- Phthalate:

 

Phthalate:

 

Styrene monomer:
Styrene pricing is rising with the pressure from Benzene costs.

Urea:
Urea prices have hit a plateau for the moment but most disagree as to where pricing will go from here. Current spot pricing is in the US$340- $345/ ton range /

Notes:

  • Urea prices have increased by $120- $150 per ton in the last 2 months.
  • International pricing is strong and expected to hold Urea prices stable for the near term.
  • Urea demand for Diesel Exhaust Fluid is expected to significantly increase over the next two years.

For more information on these or any of the products and services provided by TCC please contact Robb Roach directly at Robb@thechemco.com or go to our web site at thechemco.com

Chemical Industry News

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on September 22 approved five companies as new regular members. They are:
Braskem PP Americas, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Galata Chemicals, Southbury, CT
LyondellBasell, Houston, TX
MonoSol, LLC, Merrillville, IN
Styron LLC, Midland, MI
The ACC also approved seats on the board of directors for representatives of Braskem and LyondellBasell.

A spokesman for the ACC recently stated that the chemical industry is in better shape in terms of security after almost a decade. ACC’s member companies have invested approximately $8 billion on security since 2001.

BASF once again headed the list of the top 100 chemical producers in 2009 by sales volume as reported by ICIS Chemical Business. Dow and ExxonMobil were second and third respectively.

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA) has asked that Congress cease further consideration of existing legislation, i.e., possible reforms on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and to avoid pursuing any new legislation this year that would add to the regulatory burdens facing its small business members. TSCA has remained essentially unchanged since it became law in 1976.

Apollo Management has decided to merge its two specialty chemical companies, Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. and Momentive Performance Materials Inc., creating a company of more than $7.5 billion in sales.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC agreed to purchase a 42.5% stake in Univar, the biggest US chemical distributor, from CVC Capital Partners in a transaction that values the company at $4.2 billion.

US chlor-alkali makers operated at 93% of capacity in August, up from 90% in July driven by domestic demand for caustic soda and strong export demand for polyvinyl chloride.

Eastman Chemical announced expansion of 2-EH capacity at Longview, TX by approximately 32,000 MT.

Teknor Apex has acquired the Sarlink line of thermoplastic volcanizates from DSM. Terms were not revealed.

The US is expected to surpass Germany in solar cell installations by 2014, with industry sales are estimated to be in excess of $2 billion.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) debate continues. The EPA and the FDA have taken steps towards possible tightening of regulations on BPA. It has been stated that efforts are mainly exploratory and that binding rules are not considered likely soon.

A new analysis indicates that the fillings and sealants that many dentists use can expose children to BPA, but the exposure is short lived and it remains unclear whether or not it poses a long term health risk.

The European Food Safety Authority said on September 30 that it saw no need to cut the official limit on accepted exposure to BPA in plastic containers. The ACC noted that this European review is consistent with that of many other regulatory agencies around the world.

Braskem will begin supplying green polyethylene made from sugar cane ethanol to P&G in Brazil. The plant is expected to produce 200,000 MT per year.

Shell and Brazilian sugarcane/ethanol company Cosan have signed binding agreements to create a €12 billion joint venture to produce ethanol and power from sugarcane in Brazil.

Iowa State University researchers have said that they’ve produced high value chemicals, such as propylene glycol and ethylene glycol from biomass rather than traditional petroleum sources.

In an interview published on September 28, President Obama said that revamping US energy policy would be a top priority next year, and may have to be done “in chunks” rather than through one piece of legislation.

More than 150 businesses, advocacy groups, trade associations and government entities have joined legal challenges to a series of four EPA rules that lay the foundation for regulations on carbon dioxide. The American Petroleum Institute, the largest US oil and gas industry trade group, is encouraging a proposal in Congress to block the EPA from capping carbon dioxide emissions.

The Department of Energy has estimated that the share of natural gas in US power generation will increase by 31% in 2010 compared with five years ago, while coal’s share will decrease by 6.5%.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) said that his proposal to postpone federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions could secure at least 60 votes to stave off a filibuster, but would not have enough support to overturn a presidential veto. In spite of this the Senator has said that he is still pushing for action this year.

A coalition of natural gas exploration companies has released a list of industry principles that they said will make the Marcellus Shale drilling boom a positive force and criticized a proposed gas extraction tax passed by the Pennsylvania State House. There are seven principles which range from workplace safety, environmental protection, and transparency to cooperation with communities where the drilling occurs and efforts to hire more local workers. It was stated that the opportunity for the Marcellus Shale industry to add 100,000 to 200,000 jobs to the Pennsylvania economy is unprecedented. The EPA has asked natural gas companies to voluntary disclose the chemical components used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

The EU chemicals production in June increased by 10.6% compared with the same period in 2009.

AkzoNobel has been named by Walmart to be the primary supplier of paint supplies to the chain’s more than 3,500 stores. This is expected to increase significantly the Dutch company’s market share in the US.

Russian petrochemical maker Sibur and Moscow Oil Refinery have formed a joint venture to produce polypropylene. Terms were not revealed.

The number of unemployed people in Germany fell twice as quickly as expected in September and now stands at 7.2%. This is the lowest rate since November, 2008 and is considered a reflection of the improving German economy. The German government has decided to cut breaks on eco-energy taxes, causing chemical producers to warn of a possible additional cost of doing business of €650 million and decline in investment.

The “BRIC” countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China are becoming considered emerging economic powerhouses anticipated to drive global growth in the 21st century. These nations are responsible for approximately half of the global growth since 2007.

Cuba is expected to start a six month process of firing half a million workers. The government has published guidelines for free enterprise activities in 178 fields as part of the plan to absorb workers to be laid off into a new private sector. In September, Cuba announced plans to eliminate one million state jobs, including half a million between October and March.

Canadian scientists using NASA data have issued a map of global air particulate pollution which shows that eastern China’s industrial area has the highest concentration of particulates, affecting hundreds of millions of people.

Australia’s second quarter GDP was reported to be up by 3.3% on a year to year basis.

Japan’s second quarter GDP grew by 1.5% year to year. The competition between India and China in the information technology sector has grown more intense recently. China’s historic strength has been hardware and manufacturing and India’s on software and services. Industry experts have said that collaboration could be mutually profitable.

Analysts estimate that the dollar now accounts for approximately 58 to 62 percent of China’s foreign exchange holdings, down from a high of 73% in December, 2008. Exact numbers are kept secret.

China’s August industrial production was up 13.9% on a year to year basis. The inflation rate was up 3.5%, a 22 month high.

The US Chamber of Commerce issued the inaugural edition of its Transportation Performance Index (TPI) which it said is a close examination of how the transportation infrastructure serves the country’s economy and business community. A general conclusion was that the transportation system is not keeping pace with the demands put upon it. The Chamber and other organizations strongly support a new surface transportation authorization be a major issue for the next Congress.

The Association of American Railroads reported that monthly carloads for August were up 5.7% on a year to year basis but were down 11.6% from 2008. Intermodal traffic continues to increase.

FedEx announced that it plans to combine its FedEx Freight and FedEx National LTL operations effective January 30, 2011 in an effort to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Although the LTL industry is still in an overcapacity situation rates are starting to firm up.

The Economy

A US government deficit of $95.0 billion was reported for August, compared with $103.0 billion a year earlier. In the eleven months of fiscal 2010 the deficit is nearly $1.3 trillion or approximately $100 billion less than a year earlier. Federal domestic spending increased a record 16% to $3.2 trillion in 2009, largely because of unemployment aid and the stimulus package.

Recently published 2009 data show the number of people in the US who are in poverty is approaching the levels of the 1960’s, which led to the War on Poverty. Some of the hardest hit areas were Detroit, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

On or about January 1, 2011, federal, state, and local tax rates are expected to rise sharply. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire on that date, meaning that the federal income tax rates, dividend taxes, and capital gains taxes will all go up significantly. The estate tax rate will go to 55% from the current zero rate. Congress went on its “election recess” before addressing the issue or passing a budget for the coming fiscal year.

Financier Warren Buffett has said that the US is still in a recession despite what officials at the National Bureau of Economic Research say, until per capita GDP shows positive numbers.

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index increased 0.3% in August following an adjusted 0.1% increase in July. This was a higher number than was forecast earlier. The index gained 0.7% on average in the twelve months through June.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index which had increased in August retreated in September. It stands at 48.5 (1985=100) down from 53.2 in August. Analysts cite continuing consumer pessimism.

The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index registered at 56.3% in August, up from 55.5% in July. In the non-manufacturing sector the index was reported as 51.5%, down from 54.3 in July. Any reading that is 50 or better represents economic growth.

In August, retail and food services sales adjusted for seasonal variations increased 0.4% from July and were 3.6% above a year earlier. Total sales for the June – August 2010 period were up 4.7% from a year ago. Gasoline station sales were up 9.6% from August 2009.

Privately owned housing starts in August of 598.000 were 10.5% above the revised July estimate of 541,000 and 2.2% above the August 2009 rate of 585,000. Single family housing starts in August were at a rate of 438,000 or 4.3% above the revised July figure of 451,000.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in August decreased $2.5 billion or 1.3% to $191.2 billion. This decrease followed a July increase of 0.7%. August unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods decreased $0.8 billion or 0.1% to $802.4 billion and followed a 0.1% July decrease.

Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% in August. The index has increased 1.1% over the last 12 months, not including seasonal adjustments.

A national bipartisan poll of 1,000 small business owners conducted for the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform showed that 78% of respondents say that the US economy will either remain stagnant or get worse over the next year. The survey also showed that lawsuits are a major concern for small business owners and are viewed as an obstacle to economic growth.

Interest rate: Prime at 3.25%, unchanged since 12/16/08 .

Inflation: Annual inflation rate was 1.1% for August based on higher food and energy costs.

Unemployment: August 9.6% after a reported 9.5% in July with 9.4% seen at year end and lower in 2011. In July, Nevada again reported the highest unemployment rate in the US of 14.4%, followed by Michigan at 13.1% and California at 12.4%. The lowest registered was North Dakota at 3.7%

Trade Deficit: For July 2010 the goods and services deficit decreased to $42.8 billion from an adjusted $49.8 billion in June as exports increased and imports decreased.

Crude Oil: Currently trading in the mid $70’s/bbl, with some decreased price forecasts of ~$65 at year end. Global oil demand for 2011 is forecast at an increase of 1.6% over 2010. US inventories continue high.

Natural Gas: Giant supplies of natural gas have been uncovered around the world and some experts predict reduced oil dependency in future. US inventories are above the five year average. Prices have been trending downward.

Industrial production increased 0.2 % in August after a downwardly revised increase of 0.6% in July. Capacity utilization rate for total industry in August rose to 74.7 %, up 4.7% from a year earlier but 5.9 % below 1972 – 2009.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported an adjusted Gross Domestic Product gain of 1.7% in the second quarter of 2010. This compares to an increase of 3.7% in the first quarter.

The US dollar trading at 83.9 yen. $1.36 = euro. The British pound sterling = $1.58.

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