If I did the math correctly, this comes in around $1.40-1.45/lb
BASF and Bayer Announced June TDI Sticker Prices
If I did the math correctly, this comes in around $1.40-1.45/lb
BASF and Bayer Announced June TDI Sticker Prices
By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — The high-walled cubicle is quickly becoming a relic in the modern workplace. It’s also becoming more common for executives to move out of their offices and sit with the rest of the workers.
And the actual size of our workspaces is shrinking, as employees increasingly split their time between working remotely and in the office. In fact, at some point in the future, you may not even have your own desk — you’ll just reserve a space to work on days when you come into the office.
Welcome to the workplace of tomorrow, one in which we’re more likely to sit closer to our co-worker neighbors, but be able to move to a more comfortable lounge space to concentrate and complete projects. Space will be allocated where we can make private phone calls or meet with small groups of co-workers. There may even be places to exercise on the job or take a short nap if you need one.
The focus of it all: Fostering an environment where workers are more productive and collaborative, where ever-important natural light shines on the masses and workers are generally happier at work.
During the recession, many companies downsized the space they occupied, even if that left them with a surplus of empty space they still owned or leased, said Richard Kadzis, vice president of strategic communications for CoreNet Global, a professional association for corporate real-estate and workplace executives.
“In central business districts, historical vacancy rates usually average around 22% to 23% but now they are around 31% or so,” he said in an email. “Outside the central business district, the historical average is usually around 17% but it’s more like 25% today.”
The upside is that companies hoarded cash during the downturn, which, in turn, is enabling them to invest in future growth.
“The trend today isn’t so much toward new buildings as improving what you already occupy,” he said. “So it’s safe to say interior designers are getting a lot more work than corporate architects who do trophy buildings.”
And as firms make decisions on how to remake their workplaces, they’re looking to companies that have been forward-thinking with their workplace designs, notably tech firms like Google GOOG +0.81% and Microsoft MSFT +0.36% .
“Real-estate and facility management has been looked at exclusively as cost in corporations,” said John Pursell, vice president of corporate real estate for Diageo DEO +0.63% , a spirits company. “Now, there seems to be recognition from the executive suites … that the workplace does have an impact on employee engagement and performance.”
At Diageo’s Manhattan office, construction is underway to create a more open, collaborative space for the marketing group, one that will encourage “constructive eavesdropping,” and perhaps help the company get ideas to the marketplace faster, Pursell said. Already, perhaps not surprisingly, there’s a bar in the office where workers can mingle after hours.
In other parts of the world, Diageo offices are even more progressive.
“In Sao Paulo, they have the ‘Star Trek table,’ where executives sit together in an open plan. Adjacent to the table, they have a room they can go in for private conversations,” Pursell said. “They see it as a tremendous benefit. It encourages more dialogue and more feedback.”
A major US propylene producer's initial contract nomination called for a decrease of 7 cents/lb for June, multiple sources said Thursday.
Two market participants said ExxonMobil had nominated the decrease for June contracts, although this could not be confirmed with the company.
The decrease, while anticipated, seemed to fall short of market expectations of up to a double-digit drop given current spot prices that have resulted from lagging demand and improving supplies.
Polymer-grade propylene contracts for May stood at a record-high 97 cents/lb. Producers were successful in implementing a 9.5-cent/lb increase by mid-month. Chemical-grade CPs were slightly lower at 95.50 cents/lb, also an all-time high.
No other nominations for June had been heard, and majors often refrain from nominating when prices are clearly expected to move lower, as appears to be the case in June.
Refinery-grade propylene, which the market views as a good indicator of where PGP and CGP stand, was last heard done this week at 77 cents/lb for May, down more than 14 cents/lb from Platts' May 4 assessment and more than 6 cents/lb week-on-week.
Polymer-grade propylene was last assessed by Platts on May 20 on either side of 89.50 cents/lb, with no recent transactions heard.
Spot ethylene and propylene prices in Asia have posted significant declines over the past week to reach their lowest levels since the first two months of the year as per ChemOrbis.
Slower downstream demand was cited as the main factor behind the decline in spot prices along with the fact that crude oil and naphtha prices are trading well below their early month highs.
Spot ethylene prices on a CFR Northeast Asia basis have fallen by around US$50/ton over the past week to reach their lowest levels since the middle of January. When compared with the start of the month, spot prices on a CFR Northeast Asia basis are down by around US$120/ton. Market sources pointed to poor demand for major ethylene derivatives such as PE as the main reason for the decline in prices, adding that steam cracker operators in the region will need to consider reduction in operating rates to remove excess supplies from the market if demand does not begin to pick up soon.
According to data from ChemOrbis Price Index, spot prices for LDPE film on a CFR China, cash basis have fallen by US$20-40/ton since the first full week of May while HDPE film prices have lost US$40-50/ton and LLDPE film prices have declined by US$50-70/ton over the same time period. The majority of overseas HDPE and LLDPE film producers are currently operating below their theoretical production costs based on spot ethylene prices as PE prices have been pulled lower by poor demand, helping to reinforce the downward movement in ethylene prices.
In the propylene market, spot prices on an FOB Korea basis have dropped by US$75/ton over the past week, reaching their lowest level since late February. When compared with the start of the month, spot propylene prices have come down by around US$130/ton. In addition to slower derivative demand, propylene prices have been pushed lower by rising supply levels from both Japan and South Korea. Crackers in South Korea are beginning to return to normal operations following a heavy cracker maintenance season while the restart of some crackers in Japan which had been shut following the massive earthquake on March 11 reduced demand from buyers looking to cover the shortage of Japanese cargoes. According to data from ChemOrbis Price Index, spot prices for homo-PP injection and raffia on a CFR China, cash basis have lost $40-80/ton since the first full week of May, leaving most overseas homo-PP producers operating below their theoretical costs based on spot propylene prices even after the recent declines in propylene prices.
May 31, 2011, 6:13 a.m. EDT
By Simon Kennedy
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Specialty-chemicals group Ashland Inc. ASH +0.89% said Tuesday that it will acquire closely-held International Specialty Products Inc. in a $3.2 billion all-cash deal. "ISP's advanced product portfolio will expand Ashland's position in high-growth markets such as personal care, pharmaceutical and energy," Ashland said in a statement. For the fiscal year ended March 31, International Specialty Products generated sales of $1.6 billion and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $360 million. Ashland said the deal is expected to be immediately accretive to its earnings per share and is expected to close before the end of the September quarter.
Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped far more than expected in April to touch a seven-month low, a trade group said on Friday, dealing a blow to hopes of a recovery in the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index dropped 11.6 percent to 81.9 in April, the lowest since September. Pending home sales lead existing home sales by a month or two.
Economists, who had expected pending home sales to fall 1.0 percent last month, said bad weather in some parts of the country might have affected home shopping.
"There may some temporary factors like bad weather in the South," said Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
"Higher gasoline may be making potential home buyers a bit cautious. It is signaling further weakness in housing, but we do expect housing to turn around later this year. It just hasn't happened yet."
Pending home sales in the South, which was ravaged by tornadoes, dropped 17.2 percent. Sales were also down in the Midwest and the West.
The weak housing market is one the headwinds facing the economy as it make a slow recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s. The economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter after expanding at a 3.1 pace in the last three months of 2010.
Louisiana chems return to normal as water subsides on Mississippi
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Louisiana's chemical industry is returning to normal operations as water levels on the Mississippi river continue to fall from historically high levels, the president of a trade group said on Thursday.
At New Orleans, the river is below flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.
At Baton Rouge, the river is still at major flood stage, but water levels have fallen from their peaks, the service said. Levels are now at 43.8 feet (13.4m), and they will continue falling through the end of the month.
Plants that were under high restrictions are starting to ship again, said Louisiana Chemical Association president Dan Borne. Some vessels have resumed their routes to Houston, the nation's petrochemical hub.
"Things are getting back to normal," Borne said.
ExxonMobil said it had partially resumed dock operations at its refinery in Baton Rouge.
The US Army Corp of Engineers has started to close the gates on the Morganza Spillway, with 12 open compared with a previous total of 17. The spillway diverted water away from the river.
Dow Chemical has not said whether it has resumed normal operations at the docks at its sites in Plaquemine and St Charles. Also, Georgia Gulf has not said if it has lifted its sales allocation on phenol and acetone.
Railway traffic is being rerouted to alternate lines. The bridge is typically crossed by about 10 trains/day.
Even though water levels are falling, currents are still fast, making it difficult to navigate the waters, Borne said.
Still, companies are gradually resuming dock operations, he said. Some plants are running normally.
"This is a crisis that up to now has been managed extremely well," Borne said.
Borne is unaware of any chemical plants along the river that took in water. The levees continue to hold.
The new press and LFI line was recently unveiled during an event at Romeo RIM's facility, located north of Detroit. The new machine is a 400 ton, 12' x 12' double shuttle press. As a fully automated system, it will ensure the consistency in production of all components. It is also noteworthy that it is the only piece of equipment in North America that will robotically in-mold paint parts.
"Romeo RIM sees this as an opportunity to help our customers take their products to the next level by capitalizing on the many advantages of creating parts with the LFI process," said Paul Condeelis, vice president of Business Development, Romeo RIM Inc.
Condeelis explains that for nearly 30 years, Romeo RIM has provided customers with the latest, cutting-edge technologies and services to meet their production needs. For example, Romeo RIM was the first company in North America to install an LFI random injection molding (RIM) system for serial production. This forward-thinking, customer-centric mindset continues to drive the business today.
"By installing this line, we are able to give our customers a real competitive edge - the ability to produce very large parts that are strong, light and also cost-effective," said Condeelis.
The design and installation of the press was a collaborative effort of Romeo RIM, materials supplier Bayer MaterialScience LLC and equipment maker KraussMaffei.
To ensure the new LFI production line met the design requirements and operating parameters set forth by Romeo RIM, representatives from Bayer MaterialScience LLC and KraussMaffei met frequently with the molder during the development phase.
KraussMaffei, inventor of the LFI process, designed and manufactured the press, and served as general contractor for the project. JP Mead, vice president, KraussMaffei, elaborated on the successful collaboration of the group members: "The design input from Romeo RIM and process participation from Bayer MaterialScience were invaluable to this project," said Mead.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC, which has a long-standing working relationship with Romeo RIM, applied its expertise in polyurethane chemistry to the project, according to Harry George, polyurethanes expert, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. "Leveraging our deep technical know-how, we fine-tuned reaction times to help create the best parts possible using this large press."
LFI is a proven process for producing large, strong and lightweight parts. LFI offers unique benefits, such as:
During the LFI process, long glass fibers are injected along with polyurethane resin in a one-step process. A fiberglass chopper is attached to the polyurethane dispensing mixhead, which is attached to a robot. The robot is programmed to move over the open mold cavity while simultaneously dispensing both the long glass fibers and the polyurethane resin in an open-pour method. At the end of the pour, the mold is closed, and the part is formed.
A sprayable in-mold coating results in a painted, Class-A surface right out of the mold. Large, Class-A-surface LFI parts that can be produced with the new press are well suited for a number of markets, including agricultural, building and construction, mass transit and heavy trucks, among others.
"Customers that typically were forced to use steel, sheet-molding compound (SMC) and aluminum now have a cost-effective and lighter alternative to parts made from these traditional materials," said Condeelis. "We're excited to be able to offer our customers this industry-first capability."