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Trump tariffs put U.S. plastics companies at risk, says industry association – The response to the Trump administration’s announcement today that it would go forward with imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Canada, the European Union and Mexico was swift and often harsh – Trump tariffs USA plastics companies risk

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Trump tariffs put U.S. plastics companies at risk, says industry association

By: Norbert Sparrow

Source : Plastics Today

Trump tariffs USA plastics companies risk The response to the Trump administration’s announcement today that it would go forward with imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Canada, the European Union and Mexico was swift and often harsh.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) called it a “dumb” move. Republican governor of Ohio John Kasich asked on Twitter, “By imposing damaging tariffs, do we really want to treat our allies like enemies? That’s not how America leads.” And from that paragon of politeness to our north, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tariffs “totally unacceptable.” Referencing the Trump administration’s justification that the tariffs amounted to a national security measure, Trudeau added, “Canadians have served alongside Americans in two world wars and in Korea. From the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, we have fought and died together.” Considering Canada a “national security threat to the United States is inconceivable,” he added.

The U.S. plastics industry also has a dog in this fight because it relies on steel and aluminum to manufacture goods. In a statement made public today, William R. Carteaux, President and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS; Washington, DC), called on President Trump to reconsider this “dangerous, disruptive approach to trade policy.”

PLASTEC East, part of the East Coast’s largest advanced design and manufacturing event, is the place where engineers and executives source injection molding, extrusion, additives, and more. To reach the show’s 8,000-plus buyers, book your exhibit space soon: Just 10% of the expo floor is still available.

“The Trump Administration’s decision today to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico, Canada and the EU—America’s strongest trading partners—will benefit America’s trade rivals and cost American jobs, plain and simple,” said Carteaux.

Carteaux noted that injection molds made out of steel and aluminum are used by U.S. companies to shape raw plastic materials into consumer products. “The steel used by many mold builders comes from the EU, because it cannot be sourced in the U.S. These tariffs could quite simply put these companies at risk of going out of business, all while increasing costs that will be felt throughout the domestic supply chain,” he said.

There are roughly 140,000 people employed in the U.S. steel industry, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, and approximately 160,000 people work in the U.S. aluminum industry, according to the Aluminum Association. By contrast, the plastics industry accounts for about 1 million jobs, according to PLASTICS.

In his statement, Carteaux argues that American manufacturers need stable, consistent trade policies and should not have to suffer constraints due to a trade war. “These tariffs will erode the manufacturing sector’s ability to grow, create jobs and, perhaps even worse, they threaten to poison the well for NAFTA negotiations and more positive trade talks in the future.”

As many others have pointed out, pursuing trade policies on an isolated transactional basis could have profound unintended consequences in many other areas of foreign policy. But the three-dimensional chess that is geopolitics appears to be absent from these decisions.

Carteaux concludes his statement by urging “President Trump and his administration to reconsider this dangerous, disruptive approach to trade policy and to work collaboratively to deliver real benefits to American manufacturers and the families and communities that depend on them.”

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EU chems worried over potential trade wars after US steel tariffs – Cefic DG – EU chems potential trade wars US steel tariffs Cefic

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Prices PE in Europe can grow significantly in June – Prices PE Europe June

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Prices PE in Europe can grow significantly in June

Prices PE Europe June MOSCOW – A major producer of polyethylene (PE) in Europe warned its customers about a significant increase in material prices in June, ICIS reported to several buyers.

Spot quotes for some brands of PE already show an upward trend, but buyers did not expect that prices could grow by a three-digit value in June.

“The supply of excess material on the market,” said one of them.

In general, the situation in the European PE market is calm, market players are waiting for agreement on the contract price of ethylene for June, although most of them expect its increase against the background of increased quotations in the upstream market.

One supplier also warned about the increase in PE prices by a larger amount than the growth in the June contract price for ethylene, he also warned some of his customers about the possibility of a three-digit increase in material prices.

According to the Price Review of ICIS-MRC , in the Russian market last week the lack of supply of certain types of PE increased. In some cases, a lack of supply led to an increase in prices.

Demand for PE last week rose on the spot, although many companies have already closed all their deals on the May supplies. Some companies began actively placing applications for the June shipment of high-pressure polyethylene (LDPE) in the light of the forthcoming preventive stops of two manufacturers.

mrcplast.ru

Author:                Margarita Volkova

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The June contract price of benzene in Europe is agreed at EUR46 per tonne higher than May – The contract price of benzene in Europe for supplies in June was finally agreed at the level of EUR757 per ton, which is EUR46 per ton higher than the level of the May price – June Price benzene Europe

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The June contract price of benzene in Europe is agreed at EUR46 per tonne higher than May

June Price benzene Europe MOSCOW – The contract price of benzene in Europe for supplies in June was finally agreed at the level of EUR757 per ton, which is EUR46 per ton higher than the level of the May price, ICIS reported citing confirmation from two sellers and two buyers.

The June contract price of benzene was agreed in dollar terms at the level of USD875 per tonne, and then converted into a price in euros at an agreed exchange rate of EUR1 = USD1,1558.

Thus, if we take the price of benzene in a dollar equivalent, then the June contract price for the material increased compared to May by USD17 per ton.

Earlier it was noted that the May contract price of benzene in Europe was approved at the level of EUR711 per ton, which is EUR9 per ton higher than the level of April.

Benzene is the raw material for the production of styrene, which, in turn, is the main raw material component for the production of polystyrene (PS).

According to the Price Review of ICIS-MRC , the growing price of styrene monomer in the Russian market creates prerequisites for a PS price hike in June. On the other hand, a sharp depreciation of the euro lowers the cost of the European material in rubles, taking into account the delivery to Moscow in June.

mrcplast.ru

Author:                Margarita Volkova

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Top ten bio-based chemicals for UK economic growth – A REPORT from the Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network (LBNet) has identified ten biochemicals where the UK is primed to go from demonstration to industrial-level production – Biobased chemicals UK economic growth

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Top ten bio-based chemicals for UK economic growth

Article by Amanda Doyle

 Biobased chemicals UK economic growth

A REPORT from the Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network (LBNet) has identified ten biochemicals where the UK is primed to go from demonstration to industrial-level production.

Bio-based chemicals can be use as an alternative to petrochemicals for a wide range of products such as biodegradable plastics, cosmetics, and detergents. These products generate billions of pounds of global revenue and the LBNet report, UKBioChem10: The ten green chemicals that can create growth, jobs and trade for the UK, urges the UK government and industries to focus resources on ten specific biochemicals. Many UK universities and companies already have expertise in producing these chemicals at lab or demonstration level.

“Just as oil underpinned the development of now ubiquitous plastics, textiles, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in the last century, bio-based chemicals are set to replace oil in many products in the next few decades,” said Simon McQueen-Mason, LBNet network director. “Investment and policy support now will allow the UK to be a leader in this emerging industry.”

The top 10:

1. Lactic acid

Lactic acid can be produced from sugar or starch and is used to make polylactic acid (PLA) which can form biodegradable polyesters. It can also be used in food flavouring, detergents, and pharmaceutical production.

2.  2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA)

FDCA can be used to create polymers such as polyethylene furanoate (PEF) which provides an alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly used in plastic bottles, food packaging, and carpets. UK company Biome Bioplastics is producing FDCA from natural sugars and is now scaling up the production process.

3. Levoglucosenone

This can be used as an alternative to toxic solvents in the pharmaceutical industry and its derivatives can be used to create flavourings and fragrances. Australian company Circa, which makes levoglucosenone from biorefinery waste, is currently investing in the UK. Along with academics at the University of York, it has invented a product called Cyrene which is a levoglucosenone-based solvent that can be used for water filtration, batteries, and graffiti removal.

4 .5 Hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF)

HMF is a building block for plastics and polymers, such as 2,5 furandicarboxylic acid which can replace chemicals used in plastics and polyesters, and DMF which can be used as a biofuel.

5. Muconic acid

Muconic acid can be used to create a wide variety of chemicals and polymers which can replace the non-sustainable benzene and cyclohexane that are currently used in the production of PET and nylon fibres. The production of muconic acid has already been demonstrated at lab scale by several UK companies.

6. Itaconic acid

This can act as a replacement for petroleum-based acrylic acid. Acrylic acid is typically used to make superabsorbent polymers for personal care products and unsaturated polyester resins for use in pipes and gratings. Itaxonix is one of several companies developing bio-based polymers from itaconic acid, but the technology is still at an early stage.

7. 1,3 Butanediol

This is a building block for products such as fragrances, insecticides, antibiotics, and synthetic rubber. CHAIN Biotechnology has already developed the technology to produce 1,3 butanediol using sugar fermentation, and it plans to develop manufacturing capabilities.

8. Glucaric acid

Glucaric acid prevents deposits of limescale and dirt on fabrics or dishes, and can be used to replace phosphate-based detergents which are currently being phased out due to environmental concerns. Glucaric acid can also be used in food ingredients and corrosion inhibitors. It can be produced from glucose, but the technology for this has not yet been scaled up to industrial level.

9. Levulinic acid

This is used to produce environmentally-friendly herbicides, skin creams, and degreasers. It can be produced from starch or certain sugars and the report states that there are likely many high value applications for the acid that can be tapped by further research.

10. n-Butanol

n-Butanol is used in a wide range of polymers and plastics, as a solvent, and as a paint thinner. It can be produced by fermentation of carbohydrates using bacteria. An advanced fermentation process has been developed by UK-based Green Biologics. There are several other companies with expertise, but further development and commercialisation is needed.

The report urges government and businesses to take five steps to make the UK a world leader in bio-chemical production: focus resources on exploiting value from these specific biochemicals; increase support for academic-business collaborations; provide research funding; invest in easy-to-access test and scale-up facilities for researchers and start-ups; and incentivise the use of bio-based materials.

“The challenge for bio-based chemicals is that we are competing with petrochemicals, an industry that has a century of development behind it,” said Kevin Matthews, CEO of Itaconix. “For the industry to really take off, we want to reach a point where bio-based chemicals also outperform petrochemicals on cost. This could happen a lot quicker if incentives were put in place to help offset the advantage of scale that the petrochemical industry has over us. These could include investment in UK science to develop cost effective ways to produce key chemicals and their derivativities, and to scale them up; and financial incentives for companies to build infrastructure, such as fermentation and processing plants.”

The full report can be read here: https://bit.ly/2sk6kHQ

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Teijin Develops New DELTAPEAK® Two-in-one Sweat-suit Fabric – Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd., the Teijin Group’s fiber and products converting company, announced today that it has developed a new line in the DELTAPEAK series—a two-in-one sweat-suit fabric that combines water-repelling and sweat-absorbing property—for autumn/winter 2019 – Teijin DELTAPEAK Fabric

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Teijin Develops New DELTAPEAK® Two-in-one Sweat-suit Fabric

Teijin DELTAPEAK FabricTokyo, Japan – Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd., the Teijin Group’s fiber and products converting company, announced today that it has developed a new line in the DELTAPEAK series—a two-in-one sweat-suit fabric that combines water-repelling and sweat-absorbing property—for autumn/winter 2019.

Although existing sweat-suit fabrics are already used widely for sports outerwear, there is demand for extra-functional materials that are more stretchable, sweat-absorbent, quick-drying and lightweight. The new DELTAPEAK fabric, which is based on 4 dimensional bulky DELTAPEAK launched in 2017, offers a unique combination of water-repellency for outer surfaces and water-absorbency for inner surfaces. This next-generation sweat-suit fabric repels light rain and mud as well as prevents sweat stains—a two-in-one blend of outer-surface water repellency and inner-surface water absorbency—for superior all-around comfort.

Teijin Frontier’s versatile new fabric also tolerates repeated washing thanks to its kneaded water-repellent yarn and advanced micro-crimping.

Special features of new DELTAPEAK two-in-one sweat-suit fabric
•  Repels rain and mud
•  Prevents sweat stains
•  Water-repellency withstands repeated washing
•  Highly water absorbent and quick drying

Core features of 4-dimensional bulky DELTAPEAK
•  Lightweight and useful bulkiness
•  Soft touch and luxurious appearance
•  High cushioning, resiliency and elasticity for comfort
•  Low drape with beautiful shape

Going forward, Teijin Frontier expects to combine its new fabric with other multifunctional materials for enhanced sportswear, fashionwear, uniforms and more. In addition, an eco-friendly version combined with fluorine-free water-repellent polyester fiber and recycled polyester fiber is now under development.

Annual sales are expected to reach 200,000 meters by the fiscal year ending in March 2021.

About the Teijin Group
Teijin (TSE: 3401) is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the areas of environmental value; safety, security and disaster mitigation; and demographic change and increased health consciousness. Its main fields of operation are high-performance fibers such as aramid, carbon fibers & composites, healthcare, films, resin & plastic processing, polyester fibers, products converting and IT. The group has some 170 companies and around 19,000 employees spread out over 20 countries worldwide. It posted consolidated sales of JPY835 billion (USD 7.6 billion) and total assets of JPY 986.2 billion (USD 9 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.

Press Contact
Corporate Communications
Teijin Limited
pr@teijin.co.jp

Information in the press releases is current on the date of the announcement.
It is subject to change without prior notice.

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INSIGHT: Turkey’s central bank calms markets but economic growth woes persist – Turkey’s central bank on Monday announced it would simplify its system of interest rates, effectively increasing the cost of borrowing – Turkey central bank markets economic growth

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INSIGHT: Turkey’s central bank calms markets but economic growth woes persist

Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)–Turkey’s central bank on Monday announced it would simplify its system of interest rates, effectively increasing the cost of borrowing, in a move not favoured by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

This has brought some calm to the country’s troubled financial markets, with the Turkish lira (TL) shooting up 3% on the day, but concerns among the country’s chemical players and investors’ aversion to Turkey assets continue casting a shadow.

Turkey central bank markets economic growth Some analysts have said the move by the central bank represents a return to a more conventional approach to monetary policy.

An increase in interest rates by the bank also showed the institution still guards its independence, although the sharp jump in the lira’s value on Monday had reversed some of the gains by the end of the day.

Financial concerns for the 80m-strong country run deep among corporates.

The move by the central bank on Monday had been preceded a week earlier by Erdogan’s comments to newswire  Bloomberg hinting that post-June election, was his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to win, the new government may intervene directly in monetary policy.

Anathema for financial markets, the President’s remarks caused a sharp fall in the lira’s value during the week, with the currency having already accumulated a 20% loss against the dollar year to date.

Erdogan had already given himself broad powers after the failed coup d’etat in 2016, prompting a purge among civil servants, but the economy had steered along as stimulus by the government and an improvement in the European economy kept factories and services alike performing healthily.

However, hinting that he intends to intervene in monetary policy is a new step toward authoritarianism that has caused alarm among some Turkish chemical players.

Market players agree that the big chemical companies in the country are still getting materials through on a contractual basis, via contracts which were settled before the lira posted its sharp depreciation.

From an exchange rate of $1:TL3.77 at the start of the year, the Turkish currency was trading at $1:TL4.56 by Tuesday afternoon.

The consequence is that chemical players intending to purchase on the spot market are likely to face a “nightmare”, according to a chemicals trader based in the country.

“The effect on the convertors, if they haven’t contracted on an annual basis, could be the loss of 20% of sales overnight,” said the trader.

“Nobody is signing significant business now, none of the traders have been. It is not as bad as having zero business – business is there, but namely for contract holders and large companies. Others, compared to a year ago, are nearly 60% down [in business volumes],” it added.

Uncertainty among corporates causes in turn a slowdown in investment, which would ultimately affect GDP growth. The stand-off between Erdogan and the central bank will undoubtedly be  a major concern for those market players who need stable exchange rates in order to plan their business.

“The life of a trader in Turkey has been a nightmare – you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said the trader.

Turkey’s importance as a manufacturing hub, financially, and as a growing power in the Middle East makes the country’s stability key for the stability of the whole European economy.

Soon after Erdogan made his remarks, US credit rating agency Fitch said that the President’s rhetoric was threatening to heighten economic instability at a crucial moment – when central banks in the west are tightening monetary policy, which in turn affects emerging markets like Turkey as investors return to safer bonds which are starting to pay higher interests.

“Monetary policy in Turkey has long been subject to political constraints, but an explicit threat to curb the central bank’s independence increases risks to the policymaking environment and to policy effectiveness, not only from political interference but from the greater pressure on the CBRT [Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey] to prove its independence,” said Fitch.

“Greater erosion of monetary policy independence would put further pressure on Turkey’s sovereign credit profile, particularly if it contributed to serious external financing stresses and a deterioration in the macroeconomic environment, or undermined wider economic policymaking credibility and the country’s business environment.”

Analysts see a direct link between the US tightening monetary policy and Turkey’s financial woes.

Extensive research published earlier in May by Germany’s Deutsche Bank showed the correlation between cycles of tightening monetary policy and specific emerging markets suffering as a consequence.

On this occasion, and given the internal political and now economic instability, it is Turkey’s turn.

“Absolutely. First it was Argentina, now Turkey. The country has been able to fund very high growth, in the face of large external imbalances, by tapping the easy money created by QE [quantitative easing, by the US Fed or the eurozone’s ECB, among others]. As markets begin to look ahead to an exit from QE, funding conditions are getting systemically tougher for Turkish banks, just as they are for other Ems [emerging markets],” Marcus Chenevix, a financial analyst for Turkey at London-based TS Lombard, told ICIS.

“It does not matter that nothing real has happened yet. Sentiment has changed, and Turkey is on the wrong side of this change. Turkey has its own idiosyncratic problems, and they are very severe, but the country probably had another six months for as long as international conditions were benign.”

Chenevix said that some “real economy” sectors in Turkey are clearly slowing down, like construction, but others like exporters, tourism and household consumption were still holding up.

The potential economic slowdown was widely seen as the ultimate reason for Erdogan to call an early election in order to secure another mandate.

“However, this is not a crisis of the real economy, this is a corporate debt problem – the growth is going well, but the risk stems from how it has been funded. Whichever policy decision Erdogan imposes on the central bank post-election will drive a sharp slowdown,” added Chenevix.

“This is because right now the government has two choices: either they can push the economy into recession by raising interest rates by another 200bp [basis points] to 400bp, or they can choose to hold interest rates, let the lira slide, and deal with the resultant wave of corporate bankruptcies with a campaign of state bailouts. This second probably also results in a recession.”

While there is some expectations that Monday’s move by the central bank represented the victory of the orthodox monetary policy, the stand-off between the institution and Erdogan is likely to persist.

If the incumbent is victorious in the June election and goes ahead with its plan to intervene more in monetary policy, then financial turmoil will be the only certainty.

A victory for Erdogan is an outcome everyone takes for granted.

The Turkish trader said that Erdogan will win the election “one way or another” and showed concerns that other powers within the country like the military may come into the picture after the poll.

“That’s what everybody is afraid of. If it happened in 2016 [the failed coup], it could happen again in 2018.”

Pictured: Erdogan supporters celebrate his victory in the 2017 referendum which gave him broader powers
Source: Depo Photos/Depo Photos via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

By Jonathan Lopez
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NPE2018 watch (literally) and 4 more cool things from the show – NPE2018 cool things show

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NPE2018 watch (literally) and 4 more cool things from the show

By: Rick Lingle

NPE2018 cool things show

PlasticsToday reported on 5 cool things we saw during the 5-day run of NPE2018 (those links are found at the end of this report), which covered 1.2-million square feet of exhibition space for 2,180 exhibitors. Because there was so much in Orlando to draw from, our reports barely scratched the surface of what we saw as cool.

Which brings us to this sequel that supplements the original quintet of cool with five more worth pointing out that are just as innovative, based on my 30 years’ experience as a packaging reporter.

Like many manufacturers, your shop floor operations may be challenged with inefficient processes, unpredictable downtime, and difficulties with machinery maintenance. A manufacturing execution system (MES) can help make the most of your shop floor’s capabilities, with tools that can identify under-performing and high-performance machines, and then optimize asset utilization accordingly.

In short, the largest-in-history NPE NPE2018 was awesome and overwhelming, everything anyone could want in a tradeshow.

NPE2018 cool things show Our cool sequel starts with a booth that literally stopped attendees in their tracks and compelled them to stand dozens deep in line for about 30 minutes (photo above).

What was worth that kind of wait that drew many hundreds of visitors to the booth of Arburg (Lossburg, Germany)? It was the incentive for them to receive a souvenir watch assembled before their eyes by a robotics-driven work cell that itself helped pass the time in line.

The demo was an example of Industry 4.0 for the individualized automated production of single-unit batches by an electric two-component Allrounder 570 A that produced two, two-color wrist straps molded from Liquid Silicone Rubber. Thanks to the Multilift V 15 linear robotic system and an assembly station, the watches were complete with housing and fastening and ready to use in 70 seconds. Besides watches, the system is appropriate for packaging, medicine and additive manufacturing.

Ironically, I didn’t have time to wait in line for a watch as my natural curiosity and the fact that there were so many dozens of aisles to explore beckoned me more.

It wasn’t the only attention-getter in the booth: A separate line formed on another side of the packed and expansive booth where visitors could walk away with a molded and assembled small folding stepstool.

At a show of this magnitude, getting attention amid the considerable “noise” meant going way over the top. I’m sure there was more to see here, too, but it was time to move on.

EastPack 2018 held June 12-14 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City offers the latest in manufacturing and automation, a dedicated 3D Printing Zone, hundreds of exhibitors and a jam-packed 3-day packaging conference. For more information, visit the EastPack website.

Next: The incredible waste-reducing additive

READ MORE

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