APIC Confidence A Dangerous Thing?

Mumbai at night


mumbai_734475831.jpgSource of picture: travelygan.wordpress.com



By John Richardson in Mumbai

POLYOLEFINS will not see a margin collapse this year due to persistently strong demand growth and continued problems with new-capacity start-ups, said numerous industry sources on the sidelines of the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in Mumbai.

The belief seems to be growing that barring another catastrophic global economic crisis, the industry should be fine.

It is interesting that sources are expressing bigger fear of a demand rather than a supply-side shock. This is the result of the belief that associated gas shortages in Saudi Arabia, problems in starting-up new plants and operating-rate discipline among western producers will continue.

Booming Asian demand has created a lot of confidence. Is this misplaced?

China’s apparent polyethylene (PE) consumption grew by 36.9% in 2009 over the previous year and polypropylene (PP) demand by 29.1%, according to the petrochemicals consultancy, DeWitt & Co.

“On scrutiny, much of the 2009 growth was due to replenishment of stocks after massive de-stocking at the end of 2008 and also reduced use of recycled material by converters,” said Mazlan Razak, Kuala Lumpur-based consultant with DeWitt & Co.

But growth remains strong so far this year and is likely be above 10% for the whole of 2010, estimated several sources.

In India, polypropylene (PP) demand grew by 27% in 2009, according to India’s Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers’ Association (CPMA).

PP will grow by 12%, reaching apparent demand of 2.462m tonnes, the CPMA adds.

Overall PE growth was 7.6% in 2009 but is expected to accelerate to 10.5% this the year, the CPMA continued. This would leave India’s apparent demand for all grades of the polymer at 2.879m tonnes.

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