WASHINGTON-U.S. plastics pro-duction should rise 3.4 percent in 1996, catching up to sales and captive-use rates that for the past year have reduced commodity thermoplastic inventories to ``critically low levels,'' the head of the SPI committee on resin statistics said. Kevin L. Boyle, manager of marketing research for Occidental Chemical Co., presented his committee's report at the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. year-end press briefing in Washington on Dec. 6.
In 1995, U.S. resin production was 78.6 billion pounds, while resin sales and captive use reached 79 billion pounds. The latter figure includes imports for many resins.
Boyle predicted a ``whopping'' 31 percent increase in resin exports for 1996. Total sales and use of general-purpose resins is expected to be 8.6 percent higher in 1996 than 1995, he said.
Thermosets will grow only 1.3 percent in 1996 in the face of predictions of a soft housing market, Boyle said.
Boyle also unveiled a proposal to include urea, melamine and phenolic resin sales to Canada within the domestic use figures listed in the committee's monthly statistical report.