India's polypropylene copolymer imports surged to about 40,000 mt in Q1 this year, up 27% from Q1 2015, led by strong demand from the country's thriving automotive sector, as per industry sources in Platts. The pace of import is expected to remain robust over the next few years, as India's automobile industry gears towards lightweighting, amid continuous demand from component original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to meet fast-rising passenger vehicle sales. India's passenger vehicle production rose 6% year on year to 3.4 million units in fiscal year 2016 (April 2015-March 2016), while sales rose 7% to 2.8 million units, and exports were up 5% to more than 650,000 units, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Industry sources expect passenger vehicle sales to continue rising at an annual rate of about 8% over the next two years.
India's PP copolymer import growth has been on a sharp uptrend over the last five years, doubling to more than 150,000 mt in 2015, in tandem with the growth seen in the automobile sector, industry sources said.
Of the Q1 imports, 85% came from Singapore, the UAE, Thailand and South Korea, data from India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed.
India's automotive sector, including compounders and component OEMs have helped drive demand for PP copolymer. Consumption from this sector represented more than a quarter of India's overall PP copolymer demand of 700,000 mt in 2015. India's petrochemical producers have been taking notice and switching more of their plant capacities from PP homopolymer to copolymer production in recent years.