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 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.
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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. Among all property modifiers, plasticizers are the fastest growing segment followed by flame retardants. These additives when added to plastics, enhances their property in a certain favorable direction. Plastic additives are added to plastic in combination with processing aids, property extenders, and are rarely used alone. Property modifiers are forecast to be the largest segment both in terms of revenue and consumption in 2016.
Plasticizer is expected to be the largest product market globally, accounting for a 51.8% share of plastic additives demand by volume in 2016. This market is expected to grow with CAGR of 3.2% during 2011-2016.
North America and Europe are mature markets for plastic additives. With trade liberalization and the rapid growth in the emerging economies, China and India have become attractive market destinations for many investors. Growth opportunities in Asia Pacific are huge due to availability of skilled and cheap labor.