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Note Worthy Rupee's dive hits Indian Petrochemicals Demand, Limits Trade India's petrochemical markets have been reeling from a rapid fall in the the rupee, with the impact greatest on the polymer sector, as buyers in the country shy away and sellers struggle to transfer the increased import cost to domestic sales prices.

The rupee was down around 10% since August 1, and down nearly 20% since June 1. Of the various petrochemical products, demand for polymers was hit hardest as the country's polymer converters were struggling with the high import costs.

Petrochemical prices on a CFR South Asia basis have lagged increases in CFR China and Northeast Asia prices, but have led the way down when the other regional CFR prices headed south, according to Platts data. India's rupee resumed its downward trend against the dollar on Friday, following gains on August 29. The rupee has lost 3.5% of its value in the past week to trade around 66.69 to the dollar August 30 afternoon Indian time, although it was up from a record closing low of 68.80 on August 28.

This in turn hit Middle East polymer producers as they typically export their surplus to India -- one of their main markets - where buyers were now backing off on the weaker rupee. These Middle East producers were forced to source for outlets elsewhere. For

instance, some polymer trading houses in Dubai have been directing their cargoes to buyers in Africa instead of India. "I have not exported even a kilogram of cargo to India for the past three months as even regular customers do not want to import now," a Dubai-based trader said. “Economies in Africa are doing much better and this probably reflects in their currencies that have not been impacted by the strengthening of dollar." Meanwhile, Indian polymer converters have been lamenting about the falling rupee, and have switched their focus from the import market to the domestic market for feedstock. "It is difficult for importers. If positions are open, they will have big risks," a trader said.

For more details:

FlexPack Because an Extrusion Laminating Line Must not be Expensive! Continuously high growth rates are expected in the market for extrusion coating and laminating machines. Especially in the field of flexible packaging additional applications are emerging. New equipment, technologies as well as improved extrusion polymers become available. All these leads to the development of more innovative product structures and to the arrival of new players in the marketplace.

In the meantime, the first FlexPack line has already been successfully installed in Europe, a second line will be shipped to an Asian customer later this year. The positive feedback from our first customers is telling us, that we are on the right track with our new concept. With the new FlexPack SML aims to increase its market share significantly in the coming years. To be able to fabricate the full range and variety of commercially used packaging materials,

including those partially very complex laminate structures which require adhesives, the FlexPack can be equipped with a new primer station for anchor coating. The primered surface provides additional bonding when co-extrusion alone has limitations. The FlexPack line is setting several new benchmarks. The compact design results in short web paths and less floor space required in the production hall, still though it is very well accessible and easy to operate. It fulfils the latest European safety and quality standards. Only the most reputable brands are used for all major components. The complete line is fully synchronised by the SMILE control system, which enables quick and waste avoiding product changes to keep productivity on the highest possible level. Notwithstanding all these advantages, the FlexPack has a very attractive price tag. It is an ideal tool to succeed in competitive markets.

For more details: October 2013 • 39

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SML has a long tradition in supplying standard extrusion coating and laminating lines. But as the market is changing we needed to take a deeper look into this segment and made a market research to find out what converters really expect from their machine makers today. Quality and service is still one of the most important issues for a customer, but the price sensitivity did increase significantly. At the same time laminating lines shall be easy to operate and allow for fast product changes. With the collected feedback we specified a new machine concept, which we call FlexPack. The target for our engineers was to design a highly efficient

line to produce top quality products, always bearing in mind the critical views of the operators who have to run these lines. The result is a new type of an extrusion coating and laminating line with a main focus on flexible packaging applications.

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