LLDPE is one of the most important plastics. This market is recovering well from the economic crisis: “We expect to see significant growth in sales and distribution starting in 2010“, says Oliver Kutsch, president of Ceresana Research.
Linear low density polyethylene was offered in North America for the first time during the 1970s; the rest of the world was more hesitant to accept it. However, following its start-up difficulties, LLDPE became the fastest growing grade of polyethylene. The transparent, exceedingly ductile and dimensionally stable material is now processed primarily into films and other types of packaging. Manufacturers around the world are working on new grades of LLDPE for a variety of additional applications.
After LLDPE revenue in certain world regions fell by up to a third in 2009, to a combined total of less than €17 bln (US$24 bln), it is now on the rise again. China’s processing industry is particularly important for LLDPE demand. In China alone there are plans for capacity increases of roughly 2.7 mln tons by 2012. The Asia-Pacific region is already the largest market for LLDPE, and the region is expected to consume more than half of all LLDPE manufactured worldwide by 2016.
In the oil-rich countries of the Middle East, plastic production is rapidly expanding. Ceresana Research expects LLDPE manufacturing in this region will grow at a rate of more than 9% pa until 2016. New production facilities are emerging in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kazakhstan. In contrast, Western Europe and North America are not likely to regain their peak production levels from 2008 in the near future.