World Plastic Sector Briefing October 18, 2007Posted by author in : Plastic and Rubber , add a comment
ttnet.net - [2006/01/24]
Annual global production of plastics is estimated at 273.3 billions pounds. The plastics processing industry is prominent in every aspect of modern life. As new polymers and composite materials are introduced by the chemical industry, so the industry is constantly refining and adding products to those that have been made over many decades. In its early years, the plastics industry greatly benefited from the substitution of plastic for other materials including various metals, wood, paper, glass, cardboard and natural fibres, etc. However, as a mature industry, the possibilities for substitution are limited, leading to greater dependence on economic growth and the expansion of demand in plastic’s existing markets. The industry is also vulnerable to volatility in the global price of oil and gas feedstocks, used by the chemical industry to produce its raw and semi-finished materials.
Plastics Largely Demanded from Vehicles
Plastics are widely used in automobiles today. According to statistics, automobiles contain some 100 plastic parts of different size and materials, weighing 10-15% by weight with a clear tendency to grow. In past two decades, the use of plastics in cars has jumped by 114 percent. It is surveyed that without plastics today’s cars would be at least 200 kg heavier. Plastics are loved mainly due to their lightweight property, which enable the automobile industry to save weight and thus, build energy-efficient automobiles. By statistics, 100 kg of plastics parts in cars reduces oil consumption by about 12 million tonnes each year in Europe, reducing CO2 emissions by 30 million tones a year.
In China, it is predicted that there is a 400 percent increase in vehicle production between 2004 and 2020, and those vehicles will need a lot of plastic parts. Thanks to exploding demand for plastic materials in recent years, China has become the world’s top market for plastics production machinery, accounting for 16.4% of the worlds’ total consumption. As demand for plastic products has increased, the plastic processing industrial sector has grown in response. The demand for high-tech, high precision plastic production machinery has risen. Local products cannot meet the rapidly growing demand in terms of quality and technology. China needs to import a great deal of equipment annually, accounting for around 56% of the total market. China’s importation of plastics production machinery has remained high in recent years.
US Plastic Container Sales Expected to Exceed 165 Billion Units in 2008
Plastics features lightweight, resistance to breakage and affordability, which makes them superior to glass, paperboard and metal as containers. Thanks to the property in packaging application superior to paperboard, metal and glass, plastic container demand in US is predicted to surpass 165 billion units in 2008, namely requiring more than 14 billion pounds of resin. By 2008, the demand for plastic bottles will approximate 110 billion units, universally boosted by the fast penetration of plastic bottles into smaller container sizes because of advances in barrier properties and consumer preferences for convenient and portable containers.
Besides, cans, squeeze tubes and trays also have promising prospects. Plastic cans are favored from wider applications like coffee, snack food and paint packaging, with a trend to take the place of metal ones. Plastic cups, bowls and tubs, mainly in polypropylene are increasingly demanded basically in singleserving forms, such as fresh fruit, gelatin, pudding, dry snack foods, cereal, baby food and soups.
Among resins, HDPE, mostly-applied plastic container resin, continues to decline while PET and polypropylene celebrate robust growth due to speedy expansion in beverage applications. Polypropylene, with cost and weight reduction advantages over HDPE in dairy product containers and even cheaper than PET, is becoming more and more popular as the fastest-growing resin, widely applied in tubs, cups and bowls, trays, bottles and cans. The advantages of polypropylene bottles also include good clarity, natural translucency, moisture and impact resistance, chemical inertness, lightweight, durability and excellent dimensional stability. The demand of polypropylene resin for container production is predicted to climb 6.3% per year to 965 million pounds in 2008.
Global Plastic Pipe Output to Hit 6.3 Billion Meters by 2007
The building and construction (B/C) industries are major pipe users. Due to its low cost, durability, strength and easier for extrusion, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) lasts to govern plastic pipe market as the most-frequently used resin, enjoying over two-thirds of plastic pipe demand. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipes celebrate robust demand all over the world, favored by increasing uses of small-diameter pipe in natural gas transmission, as conduit for electrical and telecommunications applications, and as corrugated pipe for drains and sewers.
Global demand for plastic pipe is predicted to grow more than 4 percent per year through 2007, topping 6.3 billion meters. Although battling with other materials such as concrete, metals and vitrified clay thanks to its durability, ease to install and low cost, plastic pipes will continue to outpace growth for overall pipe demand, accounting for 47 percent of the total. General speaking, the growing momentum comes from some developing regions such as Latin America, Africa/Mid-east and the Asia/Pacific region due to ongoing infrastructure development. U.S. is the biggest consuming nation, with demand expected to increase 2.5 percent per year through 2007 to 15.5 billion feet, spurred by improved fixed investment activities, continued highway and street construction, and the rehabilitation of aging or obsolete sewer, drainage and municipal drinking water systems. In EU, the spending on construction will bode well thanks to improved economic conditions. Farewell to zero economic growth, Japanese plastic pipe demand will pick up, reversing years-long declines. China has become the world’s pipe manufacturing center, and is a major exporter of products to the U.S., as are other Asian producers.
In recent years, consolidation, restructuring and retrenchment in manufacturing and other industries also have adversely affected the pipe industries.