Demand for the global chemical industry will be impacted by the EU debt crisis, sluggish economy in the US and credit restrictions in China while increasing crude oil process will impact its margins.
According to Balaji Capaloor, Principal Consultant for Frost & Sullivan's Chemicals, Materials & Food practice, most of the chemical companies in Asia cater to domestic demand; the majority of products are focused on domestic consumption.
"The state of the US economy and EU debt crises will not have significant impact on the operations of Asian chemical companies," he said.
Revenues of top 35 global chemical companies increased on an average by 11.3% in the 3rd quarter 2011 over the similar period last year, and for the first nine months increased by 17.8%. Comparatively, revenues for these companies in Asia increased by 12.9%, and 18.6% in Q3 and for the first nine months in 2011 compared to 2010.
"While revenues for global and Asian chemical companies in the third quarter have softened compared to the first half of the year, the double digit growth is mostly due to the increase in price as chemical companies have passed on the increase in cost of the raw materials. Volume growth was around 5% on average," explained Balaji.
Key global chemical companies have aligned their long term growth strategy based on trends that have impacted them, globalization and sustainability.
"Globalization positively impacts Asian chemical industry with more companies shifting their production to Asia. It also provides the opportunity for Japanese and Korean chemical companies to acquire assets in the US and Europe," said Balaji.
The continued focus on sustainability provides opportunities for chemical companies through high growth markets such as photovoltaics, wind turbine, and biofuels as well as the growth of biochemicals and bioplastics markets.
Balaji continues,"ASEAN countries play an important role in decreasing global dependence on fossil fuels through sustainable production of palm oil and through utilization of biomass. A lot of chemical companies intend to partially replace their petroleum route to oleochemicals."
Around the Asia Pacific Region
Revenues of the Singaporean chemical industry are depended more on the demand from the Asian countries than from Singapore. Growth in demand for chemicals from China, South East Asian countries especially Indonesia, and India is a key driver for growth.
Said Balaji,"Singapore provides an ideal climate for the development of clusters for companies providing solutions addressing challenges in global water, green energy, and renewable chemicals and materials. These clusters provide ideal and unique opportunities for the global chemical companies, for major as well as for medium sized companies."
As the Japanese yen continues to strengthen, Japanese companies are considering relocating production to other regions. The key challenge for the Japanese chemical companies will be to move their production nearer to their customers.
"Strengthening yen provides an excellent opportunity for Japanese chemical companies as they can acquire assets in the US and Europe at a lesser price compared to last few years. Although these companies have strong technology leadership, they lack access to the markets in the US and Europe, and acquiring the US and Europe based chemical companies, especially in specialty chemicals segment, will enable them to be global leaders," Balaji added.
Floods in Thailand have disrupted the end user industries, and as well as the demand for chemicals. However, it is expected to smoothen out by Q2 2012. Architectural coating and plastics for moulders of electrical and automotive components will experience an increase in domestic demand over last year as consumers will replace and repair products damaged by floods.
Balaji continued,"However, the long term threat is the intention of major automotive companies to move their production partially to other regions to reduce dependence on Thailand, as these companies suffered a lot during recent floods."
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Jessie Loh, Corporate Communications – Asia Pacific
P: +65 6890 0942 / E: jessie.loh[.]frost.com.