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03-25-2011

Federplast.be: Belgian Plastics Industry Worried about High Raw Material Prices

At its general meeting, Federplast.be, the Belgian Association of Manufacturers of Plastic and Rubber Products, released the results of a survey of its members. The production volume of the plastics and rubber industry in 2010 experienced a growth of 5.7%. For 2011, 70% of general managers expect the sector to stabilize or to grow again. Employment is expected to evolve positively. The sector is concerned, however, that this positive outlook would be threatened by rising prices of plastic and rubber raw materials. Since the trough of the crisis in early 2009, the price of most plastics has indeed risen steadily, from 50 to 100%. But even when compared to their pre-crisis price level in September 2008, most plastics are now higher from 15 to 25%. The forecasts indicate further increases in raw material prices for the coming months, which may affect the cost of packaging, construction products, technical parts and consumer goods using plastic and rubber. Energy savings and control of labor costs are required to maintain the competitiveness of Belgian companies vis-à-vis Germany, where the plastics and rubber industries are growing more rapidly.

With an export surplus of more than EUR 10 billion, the plastic and rubber industry is the primary contributor to the Belgian trade balance.

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