BMI has said that the Czech petrochemicals industry is likely to continue to see pressure on margins amid disappointing sales in 2014. This situation is likely to be sustained in future, with the slump in car production and lacklustre performance in household consumption, which will keep domestic consumption down. Also, even if modest, BMI does not believe forecasts are going to be supportive for the Czech petrochemical industry’s bid for expansion.
According to figures from the Czech Statistical Office it appears that in the first eight months of last year, chemical output in the country fell by 4.4% year on year and rubber and plastic demand declined by 0.9%. In the second half of last year, the industry did jump back from the effects of the flooding of the Elbe River which had disrupted operations. Unipetrol’s cracker continues to face unplanned shutdowns however and closed for two weeks last September with knock-on effects in the downstream production sector.
Construction and production plans
Unipetrol has announced a five year strategy plan for petrochemical modernisation projects including a new PE plant. The company is also looking to increase the utilisation of its 545 000 tpy cracker by 13% with a new PE installation, a dicyclopentadiene plant and PP debottlenecking. Further plans from Unipetrol include increasing PE capacity at the Litvinov site.
The Czech economy
BMI believe that the Czech economy will move out of recession this year but with a growth rate of near 0% GDP. BMI also believe that the recovery will be driven by exports, so any potential delay in the improvement of external demand will prompt a slower pace of recovery to be forecast for the next two years. The improvement and stability of German demand is of particular importance to the Czech economy.
Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd
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