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ACHEMA China Number One Market for Chemicals in 2020?

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

The chemical industry looks to the East: In 2020, China could be the number one global chemical market, and account for market volumes bigger than all industrialised countries together, the chemical industry association DECHEMA believes. During the opening of the ACHEMA trade fair and exhibition, the association outlined how global trends drive the industry...

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"I referred to the first challenge of differences in regional market growth. It will eventually lead to a concentration of major new investments in the emerging countries and to significant investments especially in the petrochemical industry in the United States based on their feedstock advantage,," said Prof. Dr. Rainer Diercks, Member of the Board of DECHEMA.
"I referred to the first challenge of differences in regional market growth. It will eventually lead to a concentration of major new investments in the emerging countries and to significant investments especially in the petrochemical industry in the United States based on their feedstock advantage,," said Prof. Dr. Rainer Diercks, Member of the Board of DECHEMA.
(Bild: DECHEMA)

There's reason for optimism: After the financial crises, the chemical industry grows with rates of more than five percent annually . And although Europe's sovereign debt crises and the energy question cloud the outlook, industry association DECHEMA expects robust growths for the coming decade – That was was the consensus at the opening of ACHEMA 2012, the leading trade fair and exhibition for process technology and the chemical industry.

The market nevertheless not develop simultaneously: While expectations for China and India are still enormous and companies in the US profit from the recent gas boom, Europe's outlook is more diverse: "high energy-related costs lead to significant disadvantages. One part of these costs is the direct cost of electricity, gas or oil, and another part originates from the CO2 certificate system in Europe, which imposes additional costs on all European manufacturers and impacts the competitiveness of the European chemical industry," Prof. Dr. Rainer Diercks, Member of the Board of DECHEMA.

75% of Growth in emerging Countries

Population growth, urbanization, increasing mobility and strongly growing energy demand are driving forces for the chemical industry, association speakers stated during the opening. With a developing middle class and a fast industrialisation especially emerging markets offer growth opportunities: 75 of the global growth in chemicals for the coming decade could be attributed to the new markets, Diercks explained.

Shalegas–Boom in the USA – Renaissance of America's Industry?

Meanwhile, the US profit from a boom in alternative natural gas sources, commonly called shale gas. Natural gas has therefor become a cheap source of energy as well as increasingly attractive as a feedstock for chemical processes for the production of methanol or ammonia. With cheap gas at hand, the chemical industry in both the US and Canada has a large feedstock advantage. Moreover, the large volumes of ethane obtained as a by-product in shale gas production have changed the cost position of North American cracker operators from an inferior rank to the second best topped only by operators in the Middle East. With investments to install some 11 million tons of ethylene capacity, all based on ethane, some industry insiders already expect a re-industrialisation of the US.

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