Published May 2015
Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly referred to as PET or simply polyester, is the common chemical name for the polymer used to make products such as polyester fibers, film, and solid-state (bottle) resin. This report focuses primarily on the supply/demand picture for the captive consumption of polyester melt (continuous polycondensation) and therefore does not include any detailed information about polyester production from virgin PET chips and/or recycled PET.
About 54% of the total global demand can be attributed to the Chinese market, which has exhibited exceptionally large growth in the last five years and expanded at a rate of almost 10% annually, on average. At the same time, quite healthy demand growth of more than 5% annually was also registered for the next-largest consuming region, the Indian Subcontinent, while stagnating and even decreasing consumption of PET polymer was seen in more mature markets such as North America and Western Europe. This was mainly a result of increasing polyester imports from cost-advantaged producers in the Middle East and Asia, combined with lower export volumes, but was also due to an ongoing shift to use larger volumes of recycled PET, especially in the production of solid-state resin and staple fiber.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of PET polymer:
An analysis of the respective market shares for the individual end uses of PET polymer in each region shows certain preferences, especially for the largest segments. While solid-state resin production on average accounts for only about 25% of the total consumption in the Asia Pacific region, in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa it accounts for about 80%. Also quite large, but a little less pronounced, are the differences resulting for the textile filament segment, which, on average, accounts for about 28% of consumption in the Asia Pacific region compared with a share of only 3% for the rest of the world. However, note that this is based only on data for captive consumption of PET/polyester melt and does not include production from either virgin chips or recycled PET.
Future growth in PET polymer consumption will continue to be driven by the two largest end-use segments, textile filament and solid-state resin, which are projected to expand at healthy average annual growth rates of 7.8% and 3.9%, respectively. This will mainly be supported by the large amount of additional polyester capacity planned to be brought onstream in China, and as a result, the textile filament segment will likely account for an even higher consumption share of about 40% by the end of the forecast period in 2019.
While the highest average annual growth rates, on a percentage basis, are projected for regions such as Central Europe (7.5%) and South America (5.7%), the resulting increase in the total consumption of PET polymer will only be very minor because of the small size of these markets. Actual decreases in the overall demand, expressed by declining average annual growth rates, are currently expected to be seen only in Mexico, Taiwan, and South Korea, and will be driven mainly by changes in polyester trade patterns.