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Published: October 2012
Before the economic crisis hit the chemical industry in the fourth quarter of 2008, the market for polyester polyols expanded rapidly between 2005 and 2008. In 2010, essentially all polyester polyol markets experienced a strong recovery. During 2011 and 2012, the world economy slowed again.
The market continues to grow fastest in China and other Asian countries (excluding Japan, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea); Asian consumption represented 48% of world demand in 2011 and 49% in 2012.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polyester polyols:
Special risk factors for further market development include:
- The debt crisis of several southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal) as well as Ireland and Slovenia
- Geo-strategic risks, such as unrest in the Middle East including the civil war in Syria and tensions regarding the nuclear program in Iran
On the other side, the market may grow faster than forecast as a result of the following:
- If the European governments and the people of southern Europe are able to solve the current crisis faster than projected, the European economy is forecast to come back to its normal growth rates. Polyester polyol consumption may begin to grow faster again.
- If China and India are able to stop the decline in the growth of their economies (which are still the fastest growing economies in the world as of mid-2012).
The most dynamic markets continue to be China and other Asia Pacific countries, as well as Central and Eastern Europe and Central and South America. In terms of end uses, demand for polyurethane/polyisocyanurate insulation foam spurred demand for aromatic polyester polyols in the most developed industrial countries of North America and northwestern Europe, as well as in China because it is starting to build more energy-efficient buildings.