13 December 2000 08:42 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (CNI)--Approximately 20% of world styrene ends up in the Chinese market, either as a monomer or in form of a derivative, and Chinese demand is set to grow strongly; however, it would be a fallacy to simply forecast Chinese styrene demand growth on the basis of GDP growth rates, or data and experiences that applied in western markets, warned David Pappie, Shell Chemicals' global business manger for styrene, on Wednesday.
"We are being cautious about growth and try to take a more balanced view," Pappie said.
Factors that will bear on styrene growth rates in China and other markets in the region - apart from GDP growth rates - include shorter product life cycles, competition from alternative materials, recycling and technology trends as well as the prevailing social and political environment, Pappie said.
In particular data and experiences that applied in western countries are often not valid in forecasting demand growth for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polystyrene and expandable polystyrene used in consumer products in Asian markets, Pappie stressed.
Shorter product life cycles, better technologies which allow "doing more with less", and the need for sustainable development argue against simplified projections of growth rates, he warned.
Pappie added that Shell was eager to participate in growth in the Asia Pacific region. "The global market for the total of Shell Chemicals' products will be about 60% bigger in 10 years' time than it is today, and about half of this growth will be in Asia," Pappie said.
Pappie also pointed to Shell's considerable investments and plans in the region, which include participation in existing styrene monomer/propylene oxide (SM/PO) plants in Saudi Arabia, a 50% stake in the Ellba Singapore SM/PO plant, currently under construction in a joint venture with BASF, and an SM/PO position in China which will be part of Shell's Nanhai petrochemicals complex there, due on-stream in 2005.
Pappie was addressing delegates at the 4th World Styrene Conference (SC'00) here, an event organised by Asian Chemical News and ICIS-LOR, sister organisations of CNI.
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