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Polymers production in Venezuela didn't achieve consistency after turnarounds

December 12/2011

(ICIS) -- Production of polymers in Venezuela has not achieved consistency after a number of turnarounds this year, leaving shortages of some grades, buyers said on Friday. The country's only polypropylene (PP) plant increased capacity at the end of 2010 from 110,000 tonnes/year to 144,000 tonnes/year-a 34,000 tonne/year expansion.

However, the plant has not been able to deliver the targeted 12,000 tonnes/month consistently in 2011, and production has remained around 8,000 tonnes/month, which is less than what the plant produced before the expansion, buyers said.

Market players expected PP production to improve in December, although not by much. PP resins are currently in short supply, buyers said.

Polymers production in Venezuela didn't achieve consistency after a number of turnarounds

The shortages generated by the lower production have been covered with imports, increasing domestic prices. Things have not been better for polyethylene (PE) production. Linear low density PE (LLDPE) is the grade that has typically been in short supply, produced at Venezuelas 190,000 tonnes/year swing plant (HDPE/LLDPE).

Shortages of low density PE (LDPE) have been added to the list more recently, because of technical problems.

Buyers try to cope with these shortages ordering more material than they really need. They know that the state-owned producer will deliver less than requested.

Conversely, the local producer knows that buyers ask for more product than they need, which minimises the claims about shortages.

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