Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a linear polymer (polyethylene) with substantial amount of short branches. It is commonly produced by copolymerization of ethylene with higher alpha-olefins such as butene, hexane, and octane. Solution polymerization and gas-phase polymerization are two major techniques used in the manufacture of LLDPE. LLDPE is primarily used in applications such as films, injection molding, rotomolding, wires and cables, sheets, and pipes and conduits. These are utilized in end-user industries such as packaging, agriculture, construction, automotive, houseware, marine, and toys.
Films was the largest application segment of the LLDPE market, accounting for more than 70% share in 2014. The segment is also expected to be the fastest-growing application segment of the LLDPE market, expanding at a CAGR of over 5% between 2015 and 2023. Wide range of LLDPE resins are utilized in blown and cast film applications that require high impact and tear and puncture resistance. LLDPE is extensively used in the production of agricultural films, stretch films, heavy-duty sacks, lamination, personal care film, freezer film, heavy-duty bags, and overwrap. Rapid growth in the flexible packaging industry is likely to drive demand for LLDPE in the films segment. Furthermore, demand for LLDPE in applications such as injection molding and rotomolding, is estimated to increase at a decent rate in the next few years.
In terms of volume, Asia Pacific held the largest share of the global LLDPE market in 2014. This growth is mostly attributed to rising demand for LLDPE films in the flexible packaging industry in the region. Asia Pacific accounted for more than 40% share of the global LLDPE market in 2014. It is also projected to be the fastest growing regional market for LLDPE during the forecast period. Demand for LLDPE in the region is estimated to be primarily driven by rapid surge in consumption of LLDPE in China, India, and ASEAN. Factors such as growth in the flexible packaging industry and increasing demand for films in the agriculture industry are projected to drive demand for LLDPE in Asia Pacific in the next few years. The LLDPE market in the Middle East & Africa is also anticipated to witness considerable growth during the forecast period. The LLDPE market in North America is expected to experience decent growth due to slow but steady recovery from the economic downturn. The market for LLDPE in Europe is projected to witness average growth due to sustained economic downfall. The LLDPE market in Latin America is anticipated to expand significantly in the next eight years, primarily due to growth in the packaging industry.
The global LLDPE market is chiefly driven by rising demand for LLDPE films in flexible packaging and agriculture industries. However, supply tightness in Europe is expected to hamper growth of the LLDPE market. Increasing recycling rate of LLDPE is likely to act as an opportunity for the LLDPE market in the next eight years. Key players in the LLDPE market include Exxon Mobil Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, LyondellBasell Industries N.V., Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Borealis AG, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A. (Formosa Plastics), China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corporation), INEOS Group AG, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, NOVA Chemicals Corporation, Sasol Limited, and Braskem S.A.