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03-06-2015

HDPE Production to Decrease in Western Europe

Milk bottles made of HDPE (figure: Ceresana)

Milk bottles made of HDPE (figure: Ceresana)

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used for a wide range of products. The versatile plastic serves for example for the production of packaging and hollow bodies of all kinds, household goods but also technical parts and construction products. According to the newest report from market research institute Ceresana, a worldwide turnover of USD 61.8 billion was achieved with HDPE in 2014. The market researchers expect an average sales growth of 4.2% p.a. so that around USD 85.8 billion will be achieved until 2022.

According to the third edition of Ceresana's market report on HDPE, the Asia-Pacific region is by far the largest consumer of this plastic. Within the last eight years, it has increased its world market share from 33% to 44%. Also, in the future, this region will grow the strongest, however not to the same extent as in the past. Eastern Europe and the Middle East experience a constant growing demand for HDPE. Within the last years, the markets in North America and Western Europe shrank but will now grow again. In the course of the next few years, North America is expected to manage a turnaround.

More Factories, less Companies

Including swing plants, which can produce HDPE as well as LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene), the global production capacity for HDPE accounted for around 57.5 million t in 2014. For the coming years, numerous HDPE factories are planned. Although there are still a few smaller providers, already 57% of the global capacity account for the 15 largest companies (including joint ventures). This market concentration is expected to further increase over the next few years.

HDPE output in Western Europe is likely to fall due to the closure of production sites and an absence of capacity increases. In all other world regions, production will presumably increase. The largest increases will be expected in Asia, the Middle East and North America. Africa and South America will have the highest growth rates, due to their low initial level. Western Europe will be increasingly dependent on imports, due to decreasing capacities. North America increases its net exports over the following eight years by presumably over one million tons. The most HDPE will be exported from the Middle East: net around 4.8 million t a year.

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