Global plastics market to grow 5% a year until 2015 - BASF

22 June 2010 13:03  [Source: ICIS news]

Construction to help plastics market growth - BASFLONDON (ICIS news)--BASF is planning major further investment in plastics as it expects global demand to grow at around 5% per year until 2015 due to “megatrends” like urbanisation, globalisation, growing energy demand and climate protection measures, it said on Tuesday.

These trends are all associated with industries such as energy, energy efficiency, construction and housing in which plastics are playing an increasing role, the German chemicals major said.

“Plastics are nowadays indispensable when it comes to finding solutions to the major issues of the future. And this means new business opportunities for BASF,” said Martin Brudermuller, member of the company board responsible for plastics and Asia Pacific.

The fastest growth was expected in Asia, where the consumption of plastics has been higher than that of Europe and North America combined since 2007, BASF said.

Hence BASF would focus on Asia when investing in new plants and research and development facilities in the coming decades, Brudermuller said, speaking at a company conference that is a precursor to the K plastics trade fair in October.

To meet growing demand for specialty plastics, BASF was also expanding biodegradable plastics capacity at its Ludwigshafen site and building a polyurethane plant in Shanghai, it said.

Plastic helps cut CO2 emissions, not only through applications such as building insulation, but also because less energy is needed for its manufacturing and processing than for other materials, Brudermuller said.

When used in the manufacturing of car components, plastics also reduce the weight of vehicles, thereby helping to cut fossil fuel consumption further, he added.

The percentage of plastics in an average car in western Europe had risen from 6% in 1970 to about 15% today - and could rise to more than 25% by 2020, according to Brudermuller.

In China the proportion of plastic used in the manufacturing of cars is still only about half of that in Europe and the use of high-grade engineering plastics is much lower, he pointed out.

“There is obviously a great potential in China for plastics manufacturers such as BASF, although Europe still offers many opportunities,” said Brudermuller.

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