SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan

March 22, 2011 01:30 ET

Rising Demand for Consumer Durables Spurs Demand for Base Chemicals, Notes Frost & Sullivan

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - March 22, 2011) - The base chemicals market forms the foundation of the chemicals industry in particular and of the manufacturing sector in general. Organic and inorganic chemicals produced in this industry are used in a wide range of applications from polymer production to solvent production. The main feedstock for the organic base chemicals market is Brent crude oil. The chemicals value chain is impacted by developments in the end-user markets (such as technological advances) and supply side factors (such as supply fluctuations in the feedstock market).

Environmental concerns are seeing the movement away from the use of certain chemical substances. For instance, due to volatile organic compounds in chemicals solvents, a number of developed economies are moving toward the adoption of water-based decorative coatings in their markets.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), Sub-Saharan Africa Base Chemicals Market, finds that the global recovery from the economic slowdown is anticipated to raise the demand for consumer durables and, in a domino effect, for base chemicals as well. At the same time, technological advancements are set to change demand patterns for base chemicals among end-user markets. This study analyses the organic and inorganic base chemicals market in South Africa, and gives overviews of Nigeria, Kenya and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

 "Organic and inorganic chemicals form the bedrock of the chemicals industry," notes Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials and Food Research Analyst Tatenda Zingoni. "Developments in the end-user markets such as polymers, solvents, paints and coatings therefore greatly impact demand for base chemicals."

The recent economic downturn had dampened the demand for consumer durables such as automotives, appliances and furniture. Subsequently, demand for base chemicals experienced a decline.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and Nigeria are the two countries with developed manufacturing sectors. The bulk of the countries within the region rely on importing goods from different markets.

Base chemicals are supplied to industries that are experiencing intensifying competition from relatively less expensive imports from Asian countries such as China and India. Heightened competition presents a challenge for suppliers of chemicals to the affected end-user markets, such as polymer production.

"Technological advancements will pose a challenge for the base chemicals market as certain applications become obsolete or redundant," adds Zingoni. "This is demonstrated by the development of new substrates from novel processes."

The base chemicals market is highly impacted by developments in the general economy. End-user markets such as automotive plastics, plastics packaging, mining chemicals and explosives are cyclical sectors with demand from these sectors depending on economic performance. The recent economic downturn underlines this fact as shown by the slump in commodity prices negatively impacting margins for mining chemicals and explosives manufacturers.

"A decline in disposable incomes means reduced demand for consumer durables such as cars, appliances and furniture," explains Zingoni. "This, in turn, has a domino effect, leading to a slump in demand for base chemicals."

Investment by chemical companies across the value chain will provide a buffer against the fluctuating market dynamics that characterise the chemicals industry.

Forward contracts for the delivery of feedstock (crude oil) by refineries can be entered into, in order to lock-in the supply of essential inputs. For other market participants along the value chain as well, forward contracts are set to assist in avoiding manufacturing bottlenecks.

"The nature of the global economy is such that companies do not just compete with local/regional competitors," concludes Zingoni. "Compliance with global standards by chemical companies within the sub-Saharan region is anticipated to allow chemical companies to supply across regions globally, if they can produce cost-competitively."

Sub-Saharan Africa Base Chemicals Market is part of the is part of the Chemicals & Materials Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: The Future of Manufacturing in South Africa, South African Market for Bio-renewable Chemicals , Strategic Opportunities for the Biofuel Industry in Key Sub-Saharan African Countries and Sub-Saharan African Market for Polyurethane. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an e-mail to Christie Cronje, Corporate Communications, at christie.cronje@frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country.

About Frost & Sullivan
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Sub-Saharan Africa Base Chemicals Market
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