GPCA '10: Global PE demand to grow by 5.6% in 2010 - consultant

07 December 2010 18:07  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nurluqman Suratman

DUBAI (ICIS)--Global demand for polyethylene (PE) is expected to grow 5.6% year on year in 2010, from 2.3% in 2009, buoyed by import demand from emerging market economies and China, an industry consultant said on Tuesday.

Demand for PE-based extrusion coatings and rotomolding products would see a surge in 2010, growing by 7.1% and 6.4% year on year respectively, according to Sanjay Sharma, director at CMAI India.

He was speaking at the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association (GPCA) forum in DubaiUnited Arab Emirates.

Polyethylene film and sheet products, meanwhile, would see global demand grow by 5.8% year on year, Sharma said.

Domestic demand for PE in the Asian region, excluding south Asia, was expected to grow to 29.9m tonnes in 2015, compared with 21.3m tonnes in 2010.

Chinese polymer imports, for example, were expected to grow to around 19m tonnes in 2015, from around 17m tonnes this year, Sharma said.

Meanwhile, PE imports into western Europe were expected to grow in the 2011-2015 period, with inbound shipments expected to rise to around 4m tonnes in 2015, from about 2.5m tonnes in 2010, Sharma added.

Demand from South America, meanwhile, was expected to grow to 6.2m tonnes in 2015, compared with the 4.8m tonnes forecast for this year, he said.

On the supply side, “capacity rationalisations” and delays in the start-up of several major new petrochemical complexes in the Middle East had further moderated the fall in the global supply-demand balance, he added.

“Operating rates remained in the low 80% range despite massive capacity additions,” Sharma said.

The industry’s profitability in 2009, on average, even registered a small increase and also benefited from producer discipline in managing the supply side, he added.

“The situation in 2010 continues to improve, although the pace varies greatly among regions,” Sharma said.

However, with commissioning problems being resolved and other additions being brought on-stream, the global industry now faced a large amount of underutilised capacity, he said.

“A sustainable recovery in earnings will have to wait until 2013 at the soonest,” Sharma added.

The GPCA annual forum runs from 7–9 December.

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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