19 October 2004 16:31 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Some 200 000 visitors are expected at the K 2004 fair in Dussledorf, Germany over the course of this week and next (20 to 27 October) as plastics producers, processors and equipment suppliers gather to showcase their products.
Fair organiser, Messe Dusseldorf told CNI on Tuesday that a total of 2921 exhibitors will occupy the 17 exhibition halls at the 16th triennial plastics and rubber exhibition with 56 countries represented. K 2004 is the major event in the plastics industry calendar. This year the world’s largest polymer producers are expected to reveal not only new product lines but also news of strategic initiatives.
Under pressure as never before, firms are looking at what new thinking might help them drive costs down further and react more swiftly to volatile feedstock and raw material costs. Some of the biggest producers on the European scene – Shell, BASF and BP – are seeking major realignments in their plastics portfolios. Aside from the asset sales and spin-offs, companies are looking at how they handle rapid commoditisation of some product lines and growth of more sophisticated applications for others.
Polymer producers globally have been forced to come to terms with volatile raw material prices this year and there are no signs of that volatility abating. At the same time, downstream users have had to become used to much higher polymer prices. The squeeze remains, nevertheless, and further consolidation among the major polymer players is on the cards.
Plastics demand continues to grow steadily, however, as ICIS Group magazine ECN reported this week.
Estimates suggest that high density polyethylene (hdPE) demand growth is currently about 5-6% a year, low density polyethylene (ldPE) growth 1.5% to 2.5% a year and demand for linear low density polyethylene (lldPE) 6% to 7% a year. Polypropylene (PP) demand is growing healthily and operating rates are moving up.
Consultants Tecnon Orbichem sees global polystyrene (PS) demand growth of between 2% and 3% a year to 2008.
European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand has recovered significantly, ECN noted, and is forecast to rise by between 5% and 6% this year.
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