Middle East: political instability and security concerns don’t prevent industry growth in GCC

Compared with other parts of the Middle East, the GCC has not been as severely affected by the Syrian crisis, whilst free trade and investment incentives have seen infrastructure increasingly grow and a growing services sector contribute more to the economy, counteracting the impact of low oil prices. Saudi Arabia and the UAE account for 83% of the plastics processed in the region with a high demand for commodity polymers whilst engineering polymers demand remains very low at less than 1% of total polymer demand in the region, says research house Applied Market Information (AMI).

Polymer demand in the GCC 2016


Even the smaller countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar exhibit growth and potential.

In particular, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has created major construction projects benefitting the plastics industry. Combined with the World Expo in Dubai 2020 and on-going residential construction across the region it is easy to see why the plastics processing industry in the GCC is expected to be stronger than the rest of the Middle East, with growth forecast at a little over 3% and total polymer demand expected to be just under 5 million tonnes by the end of 2016.

Further evidence for this stable market is rising incomes and reduced unemployment that will continue to drive demand for a large amount of consumer and household goods and appliances. The region is now moving onto the next stage of its development programme, with a special focus on downstream industries and plastics conversion. Leading the way are Saudi Arabia and the UAE which have introduced a series of initiatives to boost growth of small and medium-sized industries (SMEs) for plastics processing.

Documenting the development of plastics processing in the region, AMI says it has recently released the latest version of its database of Plastic Processors in the GCC, a guide to over 470 production sites across the region.


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