Over the long-term, demographic changes are bound to sustain consumption growth and with the urban population set to grow to represent a third of the total population, more than 100 mln more people will join the labour force. As per BMI, however, the slow pace of capacity expansion will mean that India will become more reliant on imports for basic chemicals and plastics. Estimates of the investment required to cater for the growth in demand for plastics in 2010-16 have been put at US$10 bln. Even when bearing in mind the delays and cancellations, India will have a rapidly expanding petrochemicals industry. The Indian government forecasts domestic polymer demand reaching 11 mln tons in 2015, up from 5.8 mln tons in 2008. The main concern going forward is India’s ability to meet growing demand. This is being hampered by delays, often caused by land acquisition problems, as well as an inability to raise finance and attract investment. Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- India is set to add nearly 900,000 tpa of new polypropylene (PP) capacity in 2012, with additional planned new capacity set to come online in 2013.
- By 2016, ethylene capacity will hit 9.41 mln tpa, polyethylene (PE) will reach 5.67 mln tpa and PP will be 5.1 mln tpa.
- Indian consumption of plastics will grow from 8 mln tons in 2009 to 16 mln tons by 2016 and 25 mln tons by 2020. Going forward, the country will register a lower rate of growth than the 15-16% seen over the past few years.
- Forecast of 8% growth in chemicals output in 2012, but the risks are to the downside. Given the country’s low level of per capita chemicals consumption – even by the standards of developing countries – the rate of growth is well below its potential.