CMAI says polyester and polyester raw materials market hits turning point

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 18 -- Chemical Market Associates Inc., Houston, said margins in polyester and polyester raw materials have "hit a turning point" after record lows in 1999.

In its 2001 World Terephthalates & Polyester Analysis report, CMAI said the terephthalates, polyester, and fiber industries have undergone major structural changes since the mid-1990s.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) operating rates will remain at 85%-plus during 2003, the consulting firm predicts, with margins expected to improve steadily.

It called demand increases for PET in West Europe and North America "impressive," with the beer sector as a driver.

Fiber markets will tighten in 2002, CMAI predicts, with recovery in the Asian markets beginning to take some import pressure off West Europe and North America. "With the return of fiber demand in 2002, terephthalate markets should tighten significantly, allowing some margin improvement."

However, it warned, "This tightness will be short-lived as the volume of new capacity exceeds demand growth."

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