China Sets the Petrochemicals Industry on the Road to Recovery

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Demand for petrochemicals in China has counteracted the decline in demand from end-use sectors during the recession, according to a new report from GlobalData, the industry analysis specialist.

The new report* suggests that while a slowdown in end-use sectors resulted in a reduction in the demand for downstream petrochemicals across the globe, increased demand for imports from China directly benefited producers in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea and the US, where supply had started to outstrip demand.

Poor demand from end-use sectors was the major reason behind this; automotive and construction sectors suffered from stagnant consumer spending, while the poor economic landscape and the crash of the US housing market made customers reluctant to invest in real estate.

The automotive sector was the biggest casualty of the economic downturn, as supply greatly outstripped demand. In 2009, automotive production in the US and Canada declined by 34.1% and 28.4% respectively. European producers were also hit hard by the financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn. Production in France, Germany and the UK declined by 20.3%, 13.8% and 30.3% respectively

Lower sales forced manufacturers to cut production levels, with lower requirements for petrochemicals. The total demand for basic petrochemicals (ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene and xylenes) and major plastics (polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, expandable polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) in North America and Europe declined by 6.5% and 8.2% respectively.

The Chinese petrochemicals industry is the fastest growing petrochemicals industry in the world. As with other petrochemical markets, the growth of the Chinese market slowed due to the global economic crisis; however, stimulus packages and strong demand from its large domestic market helped to revive the petrochemicals industry quickly.

The demand for basic petrochemicals and major plastics in China increased from 37.949 million metric tons per annum (MMtpa) in 2000 to 100.843 MMtpa in 2010 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3%. In 2010, Korea accounted for 31% of China’s total basic petrochemicals imports and 21% of its major plastics imports, while Japan accounted for 23% and 9% respectively.



*Petrochemicals Industry to 2015 - Increased Demand for China will Drive Recovery

The report provides an in-depth analysis of the Chinese petrochemicals industry following the recession, with demand and production forecasts and key trends until 2015. Specifically, it provides historic and future forecasts of the capacity, production and demand of basic petrochemicals and polymers in China. The study provides detailed analysis of China’s key role in the recovery of the global petrochemicals industry by presenting the export trends of major petrochemicals-producing countries to China during the recession and initial recovery phase. In addition, the report discusses major foreign investments in China and describes the growth strategies adopted by major companies during the recovery phase. The report is built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by GlobalData’s team of industry experts.


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