Published November 2014
World consumption of ABS resins is led by appliances and electronic/electrical applications, accounting for approximately 64% of total world ABS resin consumption. The next-largest end use for ABS resins is in the transportation sector (automobiles).
Chinese demand for ABS resins has expanded over the years and continues to drive global capacity for the product. Although the average annual growth in consumption during 2010–2014 was less than 1%, the next five years look more promising in terms of demand, with a forecast growth rate of about 3.5% per year. Western Europe, North America and Japan are mature economies, with North America exhibiting modest growth rates in the next five years. Western Europe will have a slower growth rate of just over 2% per year from 2014 to 2019, followed by Japan with about 1.5% per year. Demand will continue to be led by the Northeast Asian countries (primarily the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China) during the same time period.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of ABS resins:
The largest consuming regions in 2014 were China (55%), North America (9%), Western Europe (8%) and Southeast Asia (7%). World consumption of ABS in 2019 is expected to represent an average annual growth rate of 3.7%.
The appliance market in China will grow as the middle class population grows, since this emerging group purchases more durable goods that use ABS resins. The migration of manufacturing of electronic/electrical, appliances, and other markets to China over the years has resulted in increased ABS demand in the country.
The ABS resin market is oversupplied, and no capacity additions are expected in the next five years. Increasing demand will absorb the excess capacity and is expected to foster increases in overall operating rates from 2014 to 2019.
Developed regions, such as Western Europe, have witnessed further consolidation and rationalization for ABS in the last five years, involving such companies as SABIC IP (formerly GE Plastics), Styron (formerly Dow) and Styrolution (INEOS joint venture with BASF).