China leads the world in PE film production
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China's market for polyethylene (PE) film is the largest on the globe, according to a report released Thursday by p...
China’s market for polyethylene (PE) film is the largest on the globe, according to a report released Thursday by plastics research firm, Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI) (Reading, PA).
Last year, China saw a 7.3% growth in its PE film market, and produced 7.3 million tons of the material. However, with 10,000 converters scattered across the country, it was actually capable of making up to 11 million tons, said AMI in its report, entitled, ‘Polyethylene film markets in China.’
This is a big change from fifteen years ago when China churned out only one million tons of PE film. Now, its market is bigger than those of the US and Western Europe combined, AMI said, adding that moves to restrict Chinese exports of PE film products are slowing growth a bit, but that no long-term negative effects are expected.
Driving the growth is increased domestic demand for agricultural films, building films, industrial and consumer packaging, as well as production of converted bags and sacks for exporting, AMI noted.
When making PE film, Chinese processors mainly work with linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) because it is cheaper and easier to procure compared to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), the report explained.
However, HDPE and LDPE both accounted for 23% of usage in 2004. LDPE is often used in older plants because it works better with the machinery, AMI said, while HDPE is commonly used for plastic bags.
In the next five years, AMI said Chinese processors will start buying more high alpha olefinsespecially Octene (C8)and metallocenes as demand increase for stretch film and technical coextrusions.