IT REALLY ISN’T doom and gloom if you take the longer-term view. Instead, for the chemical companies with the right strategies, the opportunities to build new sustainable business models are huge. The winners will make an awful lot of money while also doing the right things for humanity and our natural environment.
Asian Chemical Connections
China PP demand and net import outlook for 2023
China[s PP demand growth in 2023 could be as low as minus 3% as it swings into a 2.6m tonnes net export position from this year’s likely net imports of around 3.4m tonnes.
China’s long-term GDP growth risks and polymers demand
Cumulative downside demand in the above chart would total 5bn – 91m tonnes lower than our base case.
China’s dominance of global polymer demand delivered huge global growth. But what now?
China accounted for 33% of global growth in the seven major synthetic resins between 1990 and 2001. But this jumped to 63% in 2002-2021. In distant second place during both these periods was the Asia and Pacific region at 15% and 17% respectively.
This is the first significant chemicals downcycle for many years
Every tonne of polymer you decide not to produce because there isn’t a viable market will save vital revenues – especially as feedstock costs will remain very volatile. Every tonne of polymer you do produce because the market works will earn you crucial money at a time of declining overall sales.
China’s styrene demand in 2022 could be negative for the first time since 1990
China’s net styrene imports in 2022 could also fall to just 290,000 tonnes from 1.5m tonnes in 2021 and 2.8m tonnes in 2020.
If you think this is a typical chemicals downcycle, think again
THERE IS A FEELING out there that the chemicals and polymers industry is undergoing a typical downcycle that will last a few years, followed by yet another spectacular fly-up in margins. But I believe a great deal more is happening beyond the usual cycles of over-building followed by under-building.
Global chemicals: What I believe our industry must do in response to a deep and complex crisis
I WORRY that we face a crisis deeper and more complex than any of us have seen before because of the confluence of geopolitics, demographics, the changing nature of the Chinese economy as Common Prosperity reforms accelerate, China’s rising chemicals and polymers self-sufficiency, the high levels of global inflation with all its causes, and, last but certainly not least, climate change.
Europe’s gas crisis: the implications for global chemicals
GEOPOLITICS IS, I believe, just one aspect of a crisis facing the chemicals industry that is deeper and more complex than anything we have faced before.
Front mind right now in geopolitics is Ukraine-Russia and the gas-supply crisis facing Europe,
China zero-COVID: 2022 impact on local and global demand for nine major polymers
Instead of demand for the nine polymers growing by 7m tonnes in 2022 under our base cases, my downsides see consumption falling by 6m tonnes.