AMI Consulting’s report „Polymer demand in Asia“ details the size, nature and future prospects for both commodity and engineering plastics in Asia. The region represents a varied market with the 13 countries listed in the report having differing prospects for polymer demand.
In terms of the consumption of polymers, Asia has long been regarded as the powerhouse of plastics processing and accounted for over 46 % of global polymer demand in 2016. The end of the 20th century saw the start of Asia’s rising demand for polymer accelerate at an unprecedented rate. Today Asia is divided between some of the most mature polymer markets in the world and those that remain underdeveloped.
According to AMI, China accounts for the largest polymer demand in Asia, and with manufacturing costs remaining relatively low, this looks set to continuing for the foreseeable future. Growth rates in China are forecast to slow from the double figure heights of recent years, to a more sustainable level leaving the high growth rates for those countries, that until recently, had seen little investment.
Although some countries have in recent years imposed minimum wages to help stop the exploitation of workers, in relative terms, Asia still has an abundance of cheap labour that encourages foreign investments in manufacturing and plastics processing. Exports are driven by cheap production costs, as for many countries around the globe importing goods from Asia is cheaper than domestic production. The future prospect is bright for the Asian region, as growth is not only a consequence of the continuing advance in the use of polymers within China but also driven by markets in Vietnam, Indonesia and some of the smaller emerging markets such as Myanmar.
In addition to detailing demand by polymer, AMI’s report also assesses the end use applications for polymer by process (extrusion, moulding, etc.) and by major market (packaging, building, automotive, etc). According to AMI’s analysis, growth in Asian polymer demand is largely due to increasing demand for consumer packaging, which accounted for more than 32 % of all polymers processed in the region during 2016. The continued investment in infrastructure and building projects in the region has also attributed to the rising demand for polymers, accounting for over 20 % of the regions demand in 2016, making it the second largest market after packaging.