Resin Levels Flat, But Some Bright Spots Appear

ARLINGTON, VA Sales and production of plastic resins showed little overall growth in 2000, reports the American Plastics Council (APC).

Resin sales and captive (internal) use grew to 103.1 billion lb in 2000, a 0.7% increase over 1999. Resin production climbed to 100.0 billion lb in 2000, up just 0.1% over the previous year's total.

Export sales for the major resins jumped by 14.6% from 1999 figures. For much of 2000, the relative cost position of the US enabled producers to respond to positive world demand and stronger economic growth abroad, especially in Asia and Latin America. However, the APC adds, domestic sales of major resins were down 2.1% in 2000.

Angela Williams of The Dow Chemical Co., chair of APC's Plastics Industry Producers' Statistics Group, says that “1999 was a very strong growth year for the plastics resins industry, which had the effect of making 2000 look that much worse.”

Sales and captive use for the major commodity thermoplastic resins (including PE, PP, PS, and PVC) were down by 0.7% in 2000, and production dipped 0.9% from 1999 figures. This group of resins makes up nearly 70% of the total volume of plastic resins sold to and exported from the US each year.

PE total sales grew 1.9% in 2000. LLDPE sales growth of 4.1% was the largest influence on overall PE growth (most growth in exports).

PP sales growth in 2000 was at its lowest level since 1982, with a 1.0% increase in total sales and use. PP production grew only 1.6% over 1999 in spite of three new, world-scale production lines coming onstream in the US in 2000.

Demand for PS was fairly strong through the first half of 2000 until prices peaked, but overall, both sales and production were down from '99 levels.

PVC production shrank in 2000 after a continuous 17-year expansion. Domestic production was down by 3.2%.

The APC has released May 2001 figures showing production and sales still down but better than April 2001.

Production of plastic resin totaled 5.9 billion lb in May 2001, down 8.9% over figures for April 2000 but up 2.2% from April 2001 numbers. Production in 2001 year-to-date totaled 29.3 billion lb, a 7.2% decrease compared to the same five-month period in 2000.

For more information contact APC at ph: 703/253-0700.

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