HDPE on growth course with Asia in the lead

In 2014, a worldwide turnover of US$61.8 billion was achieved with HDPE, according to Oliver Kutsch, manager of the market research institute Ceresana. "We expect an average sales growth of 4.2% p.a. so that around US$85.8 billion will be achieved until 2022."

According to Ceresana's newest market report on HDPE, the third edition, the Asia-Pacific region is by far the largest consumer. Within the last eight years, it has increased its world market share from 33% to 44%.

HDPE is most frequently used for the production of films, most of all packaging films, bags and sacks. In 2014, around 26% of the total consumption fell within the field of rigid packaging (e.g. bottles, canisters and covers). Another significant application area are products for the construction industry, such as pipes and cables.

In Asia-Pacific countries, extrusion dominates as processing method, due to the high film production and the strong construction industry. However, in North America and Western Europe HDPE is mainly processed with blow moulding and injection moulding.

Including swing plants, which can produce HDPE as well as LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene), the global production capacity for HDPE accounted for around 57.5 million tonnes in 2014. For the coming years, numerous HDPE factories are planned. Although there are still a few smaller providers, already 57% of the global capacity account for the 15 largest companies (including joint ventures). This market concentration is expected to further increase over the next few years.

HDPE output in Western Europe is likely to fall due to the closure of production sites and an absence of capacity increases. In all other world regions, production will presumably increase. The largest increases will be expected in Asia, the Middle East and North America. Africa and South America will have the highest growth rates, due to their low initial level. Western Europe will be increasingly dependent on imports, due to decreasing capacities. North America will increase its net exports over the following eight years by presumably over 1 million tonnes. The most HDPE will be exported from the Middle East: net around 4.8 million tonnes/year.

The study also provides extensive profiles of 92 producers, including Braskem, Chevron Phillips, China National Petroleum Corporation, ExxonMobil, Ineos, Lotte Chemical Corp., LyondellBasell, NPC, Sabic and Sinopec.


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