Simon Robinson talked to some of the key players at UTECH Asia 2016 about how business has been in 2015 and about how 2016 looks.
The Chinese market, which roared ahead like a tiger at the turn of the century and into the first half of the 2010s, is slowing down as the country refocuses its production efforts, “Growth is patchy,” Kenny Pan, vice president Asia Pacific, Huntsman said.
“The market in the second half of 2015 was not good and in 2016, the demand side has been relatively weak but business has come back through the supply side.”
His view is shared broadly by Peter Huo, vice president at Wanhua Chemical.“The Chinese market has been slowing for the past two years,” Huo said.
“The [polyurethane industry saw a] compound average growth rate between 2002 and 2012 of approximately 20% or two times GDP. Between 2015 and 2016, the Chinese MDI market was stagnant or demand dropped,” Huo said.
He added that this was “partly due to overbuilding the capacity or customers over–harvesting the future. It’s normal, just a digestion time.”
The last year has seen the PU industry deal with the end of stimulus packages to a number of sectors such as appliances and China devalued its currency in 2015.
Huo said: “The August 11, 2015 devaluation of 3% shocked everybody a little. The second half of last year was what I call ‘chasing the bottom…