Global polyethylene consumption declined by 3.7% in 2008, as per a report by Townsend Solutions. In 2008, 66.7 miln tones of polyethylene were consumed around the globe, down from about 69 mln tons in 2007. Consumption in 2008 was well below the 5 year annual average of 3.4%, during the 2003-2008 time frame. The global recession and financial crisis in the latter half of 2008 were the main reasons for the world’s decline in polyethylene consumption.
There were some bright spots in 2008. Several regions showed positive consumption growth rates in 2008. Regions with positive growth were in the Middle East/Africa, India, Central/Eastern Europe and Central/South America. The remaining regions, assessed by Townsend Solutions, exhibited significant consumption declines in 2008. Regions that declined were China, Other Asia/Pacific, North America, Western Europe and Japan.
Positive forces are in place in developing regions for PE growth between 2008 and 2013. The developing regions of China, Central/Eastern Europe, Central/South America, India, Middle East/Africa and Other Asia-Pacific are exhibiting broad-based growth fundamentals. Townsend concludes that the developing-regions’ combined growth rate is projected to be 4.6% per year over the five-year time period. Growth in developing regions is well above the average global projected annual growth rate of 3.2% per year. On the contrary, as a group, it is projected that the more developed regions of North America, Western Europe, and Japan will have a 5-year growth rate of only 1.6% pa on average over the 2008-2013 time frame.