The overall chemical industry production grew by about 2.0% in 2011 in spite of reduced demand of plastic in end used segment in the last two quarters. Also, the industry is forecasted to grow by 1.5% in 2012 and 2.0% in 2013. Such a growth is a positive sign for a mature industry. This growth is mainly due to growth in the emerging market economies and recovery of major end-use markets.
As the U.S. is one of the major markets for the chemical industry, fall in the U.S. natural gas prices as compared to global crude oil prices turns out to be a positive sign for the U.S. chemical industry. This decrease in price of natural gas has improved the cost competitiveness of the U.S. chemical industry, thus driving further the growth of the global chemical industry. End user application market (31%) leads in consumption of chemicals globally followed by service sectors (16.6%). Countries like Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, India, Russia, Korea, and Brazil are expected to be the future destinations for chemical manufacturers to invest during 2012-2020.
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Plastic additive is a diversified industry with a diverse range of additives such as property modifiers, property extenders, property stabilizers and processing aids and is set to demonstrate a high growth rate over the next few years. The economic crisis has slowed down the growth rate of the plastic additive industry in the recent past, but it has still survived to continue growing and it is expected to develop at a CAGR of 3.8% from 2011 to 2016.
The plastic additives industry gets easily affected by regulations and environmental policies and hence plastic additives manufacturers are always under pressure to manufacture chemicals that are eco friendly and safer than the existing products. Bans and regulatory impositions have been introduced in recent years on the usage of a wide range of plastic additives such as phthalates as a plasticizer and a few halogenated flame retardants.
The European Union (EU) is one of the most active regulatory bodies imposing strict curbs on plasticizers, flame retardants and other additives due to their adverse effect on human health. These are controlled through legislation such as Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive and the European chemical registration legislation – REACH.
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In China “the Management Methods for Controlling Pollution from Electronic Information Products”, regulates the China chemicals market. China has its own version of RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), which restricts the use of certain chemicals in the market. Such stringent environmental regulations are set to get more stringent in the coming years, affecting both existing and new products for the company.
The global plastic additives industry is expected to grow incrementally due to rise in plastic consumption, growth in automotive, consumer appliances and construction industry, and compliance with environmental regulations. However, rising health hazards due to the use of plastic additives and increase in the potential market for biodegradable plastic additives will restrain the growth of this market.
The global plastic additive industry is a mature industry in terms of value and volume. It is also one of the most diverse industries in terms of products offered. Plastic additives are classified into four broad categories namely property modifiers, property extenders, property stabilizers and processing aids. Property modifiers include flame retardants, antioxidants, antimicrobials, biodegradable plasticizers, blowing agents, and impact modifiers.
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