PVC and rigid packaging on the uptrend in Asia Pacific

Global demand for PVC will increase about 3.2% a year until 2021, according to market research firm Ceresana. Leading the global market share with 56% is the Asia Pacific region, which is poised to see the strongest growth in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile in India, which is said to be one of the PVC market's growth motors, demand is expected to increase 4.9% a year.

PVC, one of the most widely produced plastics, is a key product of the chemical industry, along with PP and PE, according to Ceresana. Approximately 39.3 million tonnes of PVC was consumed globally in 2013, with the construction industry the prime market for PVC products. The construction industry in China especially is a huge consumer with rates growing higher than in most other countries.

Thus China, the world's largest PVC producer, is able to increase output to satisfy increasing domestic demand. Chinese producers mainly rely on coal-based vinyl chloride to make PVC; unlike the US that uses only ethylene-based vinyl chloride.

Pipes and conduits are the most important PVC products. PVC is also used for plastic profiles and films/sheets, cables and cable sheathing, floorings, automotive coatings, medical products such as infusion bags, and shoes.

Ceresana says that the Asia Pacific countries, particularly India and China, as well as the Middle East, produce large amounts of PVC pipe, and will thus boost sales of PVC. Turkey, Russia and Germany, meanwhile, have a high output share of profiles.

The report also says that the North American and Western European markets are back on a growth path following losses in previous years. Again, the construction sector is shaping the PVC sector in the US, with local demand for PVC products for the construction sector on the increase.

In Western Europe, the crisis-affected countries on the Mediterranean Sea seem to be rock bottom while PVC demand in Germany, France, and the UK is comparatively stable. Overall Western European consumption of PVC is projected to rise again by approximately 1% in the coming years.

Plastic packaging

Rigid plastic packaging, which is increasingly replacing traditional materials such as glass or metal, is forecasted to amount to 46.2 million tonnes worldwide in 2021, according to a new study by Ceresana.

Besides overall economic development, the market for plastic containers is subject to a range of influences. Factors that have to be taken into account are, for example, low per capita consumption on certain beverage markets in parts of Asia Pacific or the dynamic urbanisation and income development in that region, which results in a change of consumption behaviour.

In many industrialised countries, on the other hand, effects of the economic crisis such as a rising unemployment rate and subsequent decline of available income are playing a role, as is the demographic development. Additionally, public regulations, e.g. taxes or recycling systems, may influence the market. Some segments are reporting a shift from traditional materials to plastics. At the same time, plastic containers also face an increasing competition by flexible plastic packaging solutions. Other trends such as convenience, increasing women's employment, sustainability or lightweighting also have impacts on the market for plastic containers.

Demand for plastic containers differs widely depending on region and application. Expectations for future development in individual countries often vary extremely. While the market for lemonades is relatively saturated in many industrialised nations, growth potential in Asia Pacific is still very high. Consumption of bottled water is influenced by a variety of trends as well. In many countries, there are organisations and initiatives that campaign for a reduction of packaged water consumption for environmental reasons, regarding tap water as a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable alternative. Yet, bottled water is increasingly becoming an attractive and healthy alternative to sweetened soft drinks for many consumers. Additionally, the quality of tap water does not fulfil required sanitary standards in many world regions and has to be boiled before consumption in order to ensure sterility. This time and energy consuming process can be avoided by using bottled water.

In the past, PET containers have been gaining a very high market share in the segments CSD and bottled water in particular. By now, PET containers can also be found in segments such as foodstuffs, fruit juices of household chemicals. They continue to profit from their positive characteristics: weighing comparatively little, can be recycled, do not break, and offer high clarity. At the same time, the gas barrier properties and protection against UV radiation they offer continue to improve. Apart from PET, containers made from PP are becoming more important as well. They profit from a rising demand for packaged foodstuffs in particular.

The study profiles 104 producers, including ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG, Amcor Limited, Ball Corporation, Coca Cola, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., DS Smith Plc, Greif, Inc., Rexam PLC, Reynolds Group Holdings Limited, Sealed Air Corporation, Silgan Holdings Inc., Sonoco Products Company, Tokan Kogyo Co., Ltd., TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD., Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Ltd.


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