Plastics has “excellent global growth perspectives”, K 2016 report says
Plastics still has excellent global growth potential, according to a new report presented by Messe Dusseldorf to attendees at a pre-K 2016 media event held on June 26-29 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Messe Dusseldorf is the organizer of the K 2106 trade show, which will run in Dusseldorf from October 19-26.
“Between 1950 and 2015, plastics consumption rates have risen by an average of 8.5 % per annum,” the report said. “While today’s growth rates are not quite as substantial as those recorded between 1950 and 1970, they have still been rising by between 4 and 5 % since the beginning of the new millennium.”
The Great Recession had only “a minor impact and only marginally affected the sustained and positive development of the plastics industry”, the report continued. “Since 2010, the year when plastics production experienced annual growth rates of only 3 to 5 %, the industry has returned to an upward growth trajectory. At the end of 2015, global capacities of almost 305 million tonnes per annum [were reached] for the production of thermoplastics, the largest and most important segment of the entire range of polymer materials. “More than 90% of these were attributed to standard plastics, almost 9 % to industrial thermoplastics, while the proportion of other thermoplastics such as high-performance polymers bio-based biodegradable plastics only amounted to one tenth of a percent, respectively,” the report said.
Consumption rates do, however, vary significantly from region to region.
“The enormous economic growth experienced by China and many countries from Southeast Asia has turned the Asian-Pacific economic region into the world’s largest growth region – with positive repercussions for the global plastics industry,” the report said. Meanwhile, Asia represents 49% of all plastics products manufactured in the world. “In 2015, more than 40% of the total number of plastics processing machines used all over the world came from Asia,” the report continued. “Today, China has become the most important nation for all segments of the polymer industry: according to data recorded in 2015, China is responsible for 28% of the global polymer production, nearly 33% of the global plastics processing machinery production and also represents the largest individual proportion of the global plastics processing segment.”
The massive expansion of polymerisation capacities in the Asian-Pacific region and in the Middle East has caused a profound shift in the industry’s statistics, the report said: “added up, China’s 28%, Japan’s 4% and the remaining Asian nations’ 17% represent an impressive proportion of 49% held by this region alone.”
By contrast, Europe now holds 18% and the U.S. 19%, which means that their share of the global production has shrunk by several percentage points. The Near and Middle East and Africa together represented 7%, Latin America 4%, and the former CIS nations 3%, the study said. “Between 2006 and 2015, Asia’s share of the global plastics production increased by some 9 percentage points, while the U.S. lost 4 and Europe 6 points,” it continued.
On the plastics processing machinery side, European manufacturers held their leading position with nearly 50% of the global market for plastics machines. “Despite the market’s unpredictability…the market will experience a 3% increase in global production in 2016 to 34.9 billion euros, with European production figures rising by 2% to 13.8 billion euros. “In 2015, China was the largest individual nation in terms of production value, representing 32.5%, followed by Germany with 20.7%, Italy with 7.8% and the U.S. with 7.2%,” the report said. “German machinery manufacturers are leading the global market, representing 22% of global export, ahead of China (15 %), Japan and Italy (both 9%) and the U.S. (6%).”
Turning to exports, the most important export markets outside of the EU for plastics raw materials and plastics products were Turkey, China, the U.S., Russia, and Switzerland. “The most important non-EU import nations for raw materials were the U.S., Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland and Japan, and plastics products were mainly imported from the U.S., Switzerland, China, Turkey and Japan,” the report said.
The European packaging industry consumed 39.5% of polymer materials, the report continued, which constitutes the largest proportion in Europe, followed by the construction industry with 20.1%, the automotive industry with 8.6%, the electrical industry with 5.7%, and agriculture with 3.4%. “The consumption rates for all other consumer industries such as furniture production, medical engineering and manufactures of domestic appliances, toys, sports and leisure articles amounted to a total of 22.7%,” the report said. “Still at the top of all plastics consumers in Europe are Germany (25%), Italy (14%), France (almost 10%), UK (almost 8%), Spain (7%) and Poland (6%).”