SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan

March 08, 2011 01:30 ET

Rising Demand for Polymer and Plastics to Boost South African Chemicals Industry, Reveals Frost & Sullivan

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - March 8, 2011) - Growth of the South African chemicals industry has been sustained by the Government's drive to increase the nation's gross manufacturing output. Development of the nation's mining, automotive, agricultural and construction industries has also contributed to a steady rise in the demand for chemical commodities. Surging demand for polymer and plastics between 2010 and 2014 will promote market prospects.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, Production and Investment Forecasts in the South African Chemicals Industry, finds that the industry earned revenues of $21.67 billion in 2009. Key investment projects amounted to $434.7 million in 2009. The industry is forecast to invest an estimated $425.7 million in 2016.

"Beyond the FIFA 2010 World Cup, the South African government intends to invest an estimated $104.93 billion on infrastructure projects over the next five years," notes Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials and Food Industry Analyst James Fungai Maposa. "Although the recession has induced budget constraints for the country, the Government still intends to fulfil its investment programme covering the construction and maintenance of energy, water and transport infrastructure between 2010 and 2014."

Investment in these projects is expected to contribute to a sizeable growth in demand for chemical commodities, particularly construction chemicals, during the medium and long term.

An increase in demand for energy is also projected to boost the uptake of chemical and petrochemical products over the long-term. With the South African oil and gas sector intending to spend over $17.0 billion on refining capacity expansion to meet the growth in local and regional demand, production of chemical feedstock is also expected to rise, sustaining the growth potential of the South African chemicals industry.

"An increase in the production capacity and output of the Chinese chemicals market could, however, result in the South African chemicals industry facing the risk of a rise in additional imports from Asia and the Middle East being directed into the African market," cautions Maposa. "If demand remains low during the short-term, any gains made by the South African chemicals industry are likely to decline with imports that were earmarked for Asia being redirected to the African region causing a destabilisation of product prices."

In addition to the growth in production capacity of Asian manufacturers, public utility Eskom's proposed electricity tariff hike between 2010 and 2012 is another factor that is anticipated to undermine growth and progression of the South African chemicals industry.

Most chemical manufacturing entities will find it difficult to absorb the price hike due to the projected decrease in local and export demand during the short- and medium-terms. Due to the energy-intensive nature of the industry, producers of inorganic chemicals like chlorine and fertilisers would be the worst affected by the proposed tariff hike.

Despite these setbacks, the South African economy is poised to recover in 2010, contributing to a rise in demand for chemical commodities during this period and beyond.

"In light of the anticipated recovery in consumer spending as well as the hosting of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, a rise in local demand for chemicals will mainly be driven by the packaging industry, which currently accounts for almost 50 per cent of thermoplastic usage," concludes Maposa. "Hygiene and medical markets are also set to contribute significantly to the growth in demand, although on a lower scale in terms of volume."

Production and Investment Forecasts in the South African Chemicals Industry is part of the Industrial Automation & Process Control Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: South African Pulp and Paper Industry Production and Investment Forecasts, Production and Investment Forecasts in the South African Cement Industry and, Production and Investment Forecasts in the South African Coal Industry. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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Production and Investment Forecasts in the South African Chemicals Industry