The numbers coming across our collective desks the past few weeks have made clear how much of an impact the COVID-19 crisis is making on the industry. Millions of people unemployed, an economy dropping by nearly 5 percent in the first quarter, and on April 30, Dow Inc. announced it would temporarily idle five plants in the Americas.
Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling said the sites include three polyethylene and two elastomer plants located on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in Argentina. Their total annual capacity is 2 billion pounds.
The coronavirus economy is also blamed as prices dropped for commodity thermoplastics in April, and they will likely fall again in May.
"We are expecting the demand in May to be lower than April, as some pre-social distancing material reached downstream facilities in April," said market analyst Ashish Chitalia, who is with the Wood Mackenzie consulting firm in Houston. "But May buying will be scarce and on an as-needed basis."
Frank Esposito is on both stories.