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Newsline-International | November 2015

Demand for PA6, PA66 to hit all-time high

The ´World PA6 & PA66 Supply/Demand Report 2015´, referred to briefly as the ´PCI Nylon Yellowbook´ among industry experts, has just been published by market research and consulting firm PCI Nylon (www.pcinylon.com) of Oberursel, Germany. This definitive industry guide provides comprehensive current and historical data on the global polyamide (PA) market, divided into the two key product variants PA6 and PA66. Demand is shown for 68 individual countries, broken down into the 6 macro segments (textile filament, industrial filament, carpet filament, staple fibre, engineering plastics and film).

The 2015 Yellowbook appears at a time of flux for the PA industry. In spite of increasing margin pressure from growing over-capacity and volatile raw material prices, total PA6 and PA66 demand is anticipated to reach an all-time high of 7.2 mnt in 2015, with at least some growth in all segments in both polymer types:

This growth in demand is occurring despite PA being a relatively expensive and mature polymer, as the industry continues to find applications and uses, which justify its cost. In their latest analysis, PCI estimates that global PA6 demand for the period 2015-2020 will increase by +2.3 per cent (CAGR), while PA66 demand will increase by +2.7 per cent (CAGR). In terms of geography, most of this growth is expected to come from China, where continued industrialisation is creating greater demand across the PA application spectrum. From an application perspective, it is the global automotive industry which is the main PA demand driver, as increased numbers of vehicles and changes in the technologies used in these vehicles are together creating increasing demand for PA-based plastics (replacing metals to save weight) and PA industrial filaments (for both increasing numbers of airbags per vehicle and as reinforcement in larger and higher performance tyres).

Althoughtyres estimates that there is an 80 per cent application overlap between PA6 and PA66, the markets for these two products are quite different, in terms of both application and geography.

In spite of the healthy demand picture, business conditions in PA are expected to continue to be difficult for the remainder of the decade. It is predicted that China will continue its journey towards self-sufficiency in PA and this will progressively create ever-greater structural imbalances in the other regions which up until recently have been China´s PA suppliers. Asset rationalisation in caprolactam (CPL, the raw material for PA6) has already begun in Rest-of-Asia, with two lines in Japan, one line in South Korea and one in India all closing within the last two years. In South America, since 2009 both CPL lines have been lost and the region is now entirely reliant on imports. However, the one region which has still to respond to the looming crisis is Europe, which for more than a decade has relied on exports to balance its assets.

In The PCI Nylon Yellowbook 2015 extensive data is collected and systematically processed, providing historical/current perspectives as well as methodically-prepared country and regional forecasts until 2030. All the information is available in Excel format with numerical data presented in the form of pivot tables.

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