Profitability in the petrochemical sector has varied for the past two years -- recording lows in 2008, a slight upturn during the most recent quarter and another collapse in prices as the prospect of strong economic recovery faltered. For the long term, however, growth in polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene are eyed to reach an annual improvement of 4.3% over the next decade as consumption from emerging markets drives demand. Petrochemical firms are also seeking to balance their leverage in logistics for future market growth with near-term demand flexibility.

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