A MUCH MORE complex world requires better scenario-planning.
Asian Chemical Connections
DEMOGRAPHICS SHAPE petrochemicals demand. As we consider the future, evaluate the different challenges of the G20’s Rich but Old, Poor & Old and Poor & Young G2O groups of countries.
If we are to see a repeat of 87% in 2024-2030 (the green line in the chart) and assuming my forecast of 2% demand growth is correct, the increase in global capacity would need to average just 154,000 tonnes/year during each year between 2024 and 2030. This is versus our base case of 4.5m tonnes/year of annual increases.
SHORT-TERM tactics should involve maximising returns within regions along with a greater focus on exports anywhere in the world
There is a big new wave of lower-carbon and very advantaged cracker projects on the way, including Saudi Aramco’s crude-oil-to-chemicals investments.
With China’s demand growth at 1-2% and with complete self-sufficiency possible, PP exports must look to break their China dependence.
China’s HDPE in demand in 2023 could fall by as much as 4% over 2022. Next year’s net imports may slip to as low as 3.8m tonnes from around 5.7m tonnes in 2022.
China’s share of global demand growth in the seven big resins jumped to an astonishing 67% in 2002-2021. Northeast Asia ex-China’s share of demand fell to minus 1% with Europe and North America worth just 4% and 2% of growth respectively. The chemicals world had become dangerously lopsided.
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.
THE GLOBAL CHEMICALS industry is, I believe, facing a demand and supply crisis on a scale and on a level of complexity that nobody has experienced before. This is a huge subjects requiring a series of posts. Let me start by looking at China’s role in this crisis. In later posts.