Southeast Asia polyolefin market: China the largest consumer

Press release   •   May 01, 2013 13:54 BST

China's appetite for polyeolefins just keeps growing, and Thailand and Singapore are set to profit handsomely from their exports. Exports from Southeast Asian countries to China have increased threefold in the last decade, and it is anticipated that trade agreements present within Asia will promote further growth in plastics business.

Polyolefins are the most consumed polymers in the world, with polyethylene and polypropylene being two of the most common types, used in packaging, construction and automotive sectors, among others. A large portion of polyolefins produced in Southeast Asia is exported to the Chinese market, which is the largest importer and consumer of polyolefins in the world. China's demand for polyolefins is expected to grow from 31.45 MMtpa in 2011 to 41.13 MMtpa by 2016 at a CAGR of 5.5%.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) places neighboring countries in an ideal position to trade among one another, as the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) allows trade between member countries with zero import duty. Singapore and Thailand are members of ASEAN, and China has entered into a China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with a corresponding zero import duty regime, allowing these countries to conduct more economical trade.

Thailand is the biggest exporter of polyolefins to China, and also boasts the largest consumption and production of polyethylene and polypropylene in the Southeast Asian polyolefin industry. Large natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Thailand provide abundant feedstock, and the location of polyolefin plants in Rayong in the eastern seaboard provides close proximity to sea routes for transportation.

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