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11-03-2011

AMI: Capacity and Demand in the European Plastics Industry

According to the recently published European Plastics Industry Report 2011 of Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI), Bristol, U.K.,, 2010 saw a recovery in demand for most thermoplastics, after two of the worst years the industry has seen since the oil shocks of the 1970s. After a drop in demand of over 15 % over the period of the recession, volume demand showed a modest 4 % recovery in 2010 bringing total demand to just over 37 million t. The market has been driven by a strong recovery in German-speaking Europe and by a reversal in the fortunes of the automotive industry, which had been one of the sectors hardest hit by the downturn. This was evidenced by a sharp bounce back in demand for engineering polymers which had tended to see the highest percentage drops in demand. While most sectors reported continuing growth in the first half of 2011, by mid-year signs of a slowdown were beginning to emerge and full year is expected to pan out at about half the rate achieved in 2010 and only slightly ahead of GDP. The recovery has in general been erratic and patchy and means that overall the European market still has some way to go to regain all the volumes lost from the 2007 peak when the market reached over 41 million t.

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