European thermoplastics growth just 2% in 2005-AMI

17 January 2006 12:09  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Europe’s 37.5m tonne thermoplastics market grew by less than 2% in 2005, a slowdown compared to 2004, consultants AMI said on Tuesday.

The sector was hit by fluctuating raw material prices and weak consumer demand, AMI analysts said. European thermoplastics demand growth was steady for three years from 2001 at between 2% and 3% a year, as polymers recovered from the 2001 downturn. In 2004, sector growth was 2.2%.

“Traditional strong growth markets such as PP [polypropylene] and PET [polyethylene terephthalate] had a disappointing year," the consultants said on release of their eighth annual report on the sector. “PP demand was up less than 1% to just over 8.5m tonnes.”

PET demand growth slowed to around 5%. Polyethylene markets were also weak, while polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets continued on a downward trend from 2004.

AMI said that polystyrene (PS) particularly had been affected by pricing volatility, increased substitution by other materials and the on-going trend for production of consumer electrical goods to be transferred to Asia.

Engineering plastics growth was patchy in 2005, AMI added, with consumption growth overall of only about 2%. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) demand is expected to have fallen in 2005 as a lack of consumer confidence hit the key automotive and consumer products sectors. In 2004 year-on-year ABS demand growth was 4%, the consultants calculated.

AMI said that suppliers and processors are looking for a pick up in demand and steadier prices in 2006.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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