InterviewAPIC '12: GDP, population growth drive Asia plastics growth

17 May 2012 11:14  [Source: ICIS news]

By Tahir Ikram

The expected increase in domestic consumption in big markets in Asia and the Middle East is expected to drive growthKUALA LUMPUR (ICIS)--Economic expansion, growing population, innovation, as well as free trade policies, will continue to drive growth in Asia’s plastics demand, a senior petrochemical company executive said on Thursday.

Plastic consumption will get a boost as population grows alongside an increase in per capita consumption as standards of living improve in Asia, Borouge Pte CEO Wim Roels told ICIS at the sidelines of the 34th Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in Kuala Lumpur.

Borouge Pte is the marketing arm of Middle Eastern producer Borouge, which is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) and Austria’s Borealis.

Food packaging is a key area of growth, said Roels, stating that “a big challenge for the people in Asia will be bringing food to them”.

Demand for packaged food is expected to grow significantly amid the emergence of megacities in Asia, he said.

Innovative products and uses will also give a fillip to plastic consumption, Roels said, citing Borouge’s own initiative in the innovative products area.

For the automotive industry the company has recently launched an engine heat distributor made from reinforced poplypropylene (PP), which is easier to assemble and weighs less and ultimately translates to fuel savings.

Borouge is also now making whole fenders for cars through reinforced PP, halving the weight of a typical fender and making its assembly easier and faster.

The company has also made wide diameter pipes from reinforced PP that can replace glass reinforced polyester pipes that are typically used to carry water.

Meanwhile, a growing awareness of the importance of free trade policies should eventually lead to better economic prospects for Asia, Roels said.

Dismantling trade barriers should help boost the flow of commodities between countries and regions, and will ultimately benefit consumers and could translate to higher consumption.

“Free trade is a great contributor to the society,” said Roels.

APIC runs from 17-18 May.

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Tahir Ikram
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