HOUSTON (April 5, 11 a.m. EDT) — The bulls and bears were a-roamin' at the CMAI World Petrochemical Conference, held March 24-25 in Houston.
Gary Adams, president of Houston-based Chemical Market Associates Inc., identified a number of sectors of the petrochemical industries that he listed in Wall Street parlance as positive bulls or negative bears.
CMAI's bulls include:
* PET raw materials ethylene glycol and paraxylene.
* Durable goods in the PVC chain.
* Markets that have undergone significant restructuring, such as polypropylene and styrene monomer.
On the bearish side:
* Products with a “consumer interface,” which can resist cost pass-throughs, such as blow molding grades of polyethylene and PET.
* PE film resins, which are “import-friendly” in the United States and Western Europe.
* PVC exports.
CMAI chief economist Arved Teleki also is fairly optimistic, anticipating world gross domestic product growth above 4 percent by 2005.
“The world economy is healthier than it looks,” Teleki said. “The population of the developing world is still a powerful engine of expansion; it will go from 2 billion in 2003 to 2.2 billion in 2008.”
But Teleki cautioned that U.S. nondurables production — including plastics, chemicals, paper and food processing — has not recovered as in previous recessions. By 3½ years after the recessions of 1981-82 and 1990-91, nondurables production was up 7 percent. At a similar point in 2004, such production is down 6 percent.