ChemCeed will be exhibiting at the annual Adhesive and Sealant EXPO in Atlanta, Georgia on April 4, 2017. The event will feature over 500 industry leaders from both large and small adhesive and sealant manufacturer and supplier companies worldwide. The EXPO will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA on Tuesday, April 4th, from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. ChemCeed will be at booth #601 at the EXPO.
ChemCeed’s presence at the Adhesive and Sealant EXPO will help facilitate knowledge sharing across the adhesive and sealant community. ChemCeed looks forward to offering our technical expertise in our product lines as related to the industry, and our staff will also benefit from the seminars at the EXPO.
For more information visit ascouncil.org
On January 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its Preliminary Determination in the ongoing antidumping investigation regarding imports of dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) from South Korea. The preliminary findings were that that dumping has occurred. The investigation will now progress forward to a final determination by the Department of Commerce, which is expected to be made on June 13, 2017. If the final determination is also affirmative, the case will move on to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for a final determination. If the ITC also rules affirmatively, it is expected that by the beginning of August 2017 the Department of Commerce will issue an order for an antidumping duty to be placed on all DOTP imported into the U.S. from Korea, even material which contains DOTP in blends with other products.
For more information, see the Department of Commerce Fact Sheet
According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), there is the very method of checking the forecast of Chemical Industry Activity for the start of the new year 2017 using The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), and based on this, the outlook for the Chemical industry is quite promising.
What exactly is the CAB and how, might you ask, is it measured? It is a composite index which is comprised of indicators drawn from a range of chemicals and sectors, including chlorine and other alkalis, pigments, plastic resins and other selected basic industrial chemicals. It first originated through a study of the relationship between business cycles in certain chemical production and cycles in the larger economy. It is comprised mainly of 4 Primary Components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: 1) Production; 2) Equity Prices; 3) Product Prices; and 4) Inventories.
The CAB was developed by the ACC and is a leading economic indicator and used to determine turning points and trends within the US economy. It also helps identify changes in other industries within the U.S. economy and highlights the industry’s role in driving economic growth. Within the U.S. economy’s business cycle, the chemical industry has been found to lead consistently, given its early position in the supply chain. Monthly movement can be very volatile so a 3-month moving average of the barometer is provided, allowing a more consistent and visual outlook of national economic trend.
In December of 2016, all FOUR primary components (Production, Equity Prices, Product Prices, & Inventories) for the CAB improved. According to ACC Chief Economist Keven Swift, “The foundation remains strong. Overall trends in construction-related resins, pigments, and related performance chemistry were positive and suggest further gains in housing next year”. Other indicators including prices and inventory were also positive. Because it ended the year strongly, it resulted in a monthly gain of 0.3% and a year-over-year gain of 4.4%, which was significantly higher over the first half of the year. This pace has not been seen since September of 2010. Ultimately these results suggest expanded business grown in early 2017.
According to Plastics News, 2016 was a good year for the PVC market. In fact, PVC was doing much better than any other commodity resin in North America, with sales up more than 5 percent ¹. Domestic sales grew almost 5%, which also included 7% in exports. Although some volatility is expected, PVC makers are cautiously optimistic about 2017, based on the growth in 2016. PVC market growth looks incredibly strong this new year within North America, due to the housing market², especially in PVC siding, deck and fencing. PVC exports should continue at a healthy clip in 2017 and PVC demand from the housing market depends on whether higher mortgage interest rates are offset by increases in consumer and business demand related to government spending on infrastructure³. As long as the market continues to grow, PVC uses in general (and PVC pipe in particular) will continue to be strong in 2017.
Compared to the polyethylene market, PVC manufacturers are bringing on a new capability at a more measured rate and compared to the polypropylene market, they’re not facing “the constant threat of lower cost imports” ³. Because of this, PVC profit margins are “more defensible and sustainable” than the other major commodity resin markets.
¹ The American Chemistry Council in Washington
²Mark Kallman, a market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, TX
³Phil Karig, managing director of the Mathelin Bay LLC consulting firm in St. Louis, MO
Last month was the initial deadline for the preliminary determination by the International Trade Administration in the ongoing antidumping investigation regarding imports of dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) from South Korea, however, the determination has been postponed until later this month.
The investigation, which began in July of last year and was initiated by Eastman Chemical Company, alleged dumping margins of 23.7 – 47.86 percent below market value. Last October, Eastman Chemical submitted a request for an extension to the deadline in order to allow the Department sufficient time to review all relevant information from the respondents and issue appropriate requests for clarification or additional information. The Department granted the 190 day extension, and the preliminary determination is now expected to be issued no later than January 26, 2017. The final determination is expected to be made within 75 days of issuance of the preliminary determination.
For additional information see “DOTP imports from Korea subject of Antidumping Investigation”
Air pollution has become a serious concern in Northern regions of China, especially as the area feels the effects of La Nina, a periodic cooling of the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean which causes abnormal weather patterns.
Heavy smog shrouds Beijing on Friday. [Photo/IC]
Beijing was blanked in smog this past week with visibility reported at less than 200 meters, closing down roads and airports. It was the fourth round of smog since October. Neighboring cities such as Tianjin have also issued emergency response alerts. Areas effected this week include Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan and Shanxi, according to the National Meteorological Centre.
In an effort to control air pollution, the Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry has recently cracked down on factories found to be in violation of emissions standards. Five companies in the Hebei province were reviewed for violations, and several chemical plants in the region are facing shutdown including well-known producers of chemicals such as Sebacic Acid and Dioctyl Sebacate. Exports from China on these materials are reportedly facing delays, and it is not known when production schedules will resume.
A fire at BASF’s Ludwigshafen Headquarters on October 17th, 2016 has killed three people and injured several. BASF reported the explosion happened during work on a pipeline which transported raw materials.
Due to the blast, two steamcrackers at BASF were taken offline because of an interruption in raw material supply. Last Wednesday BASF reported that both steamcrackers will be gradually restarted, a process which could take several days while excess gases will be burned off through flaring.
The steamcrackers are responsible for breaking down naphtha which is the first stage of production for many chemicals including ethylene, propylene, butadiene, pyrolysis, gasoline and hydrogen. BASF has declared Force Majeure for the purchase of naphtha, ethylene and propylene. At least 24 plants have been shut down for lack of these precursors in their production. Effects are being reported in productions of 2-EH alcohol, 2-PH alcohol as well as isononanol, affecting supply of monomeric plasticizers, including DINP, DINCH, DPHP and others.
At this time many users of the downstream materials affected by this shutdown are looking at alternative supply chains, and the market is responding to the tightness of raw materials. In Europe, naphtha prices have reportedly risen more than 10%.
The Chemical Structure of Sebacic Acid
Sebacic Acid is a castor-derived fatty acid and a precursor to various esters such as dioctyl sebacate, dibutyl sebacate, and dimethyl sebcate. While the price is often tied to the castor crop yield each year, many consumers of Sebacic Acid have become curious about how the chemical is produced from its castor oil feedstock.
Although sebacic acid can be synthesized from phenols and cresols, castor oil oxidation is considered a more green and cost competitive method of sebacic acid production. First, the castor oil undergoes transesterification followed by steam cracking to yield ricinoleic acid. This is accomplished by heating the castor oil to a high temperature (about 250°C) and mixing it with an alkali such as molten caustic soda. The ricinoleic acid is then cleaved by caustic digestion to give capryl alcohol (2-octanol) and sebacic acid. This method produces a fairly low yield of sebacic acid, and so further purification methods are used to result in higher purity yields.
An alternative production of sebacic acid results in using adipic acid as a starting point. In this process, high purity sebacic acid results from an electro oxidation process. This process was first developed by by Asahi Chemical Industry in Japan and was also piloted by BASF in Germany. First, adipic acid is partially esterified to form monomethyl adipate. Through electrolysis of the potassium salt of moneomethyl adipate dissolved in methanol and water, dimethyl sebacate is created. The dimethyl sebcate then is hydrolyzed to form sebacic acid.
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