Despite raw materials difficulties the European, the flexible foam market grew by more than 12.5% in 2016, as delegates at this year’s EuroPUR meeting found out. Simon Robinson reports.
One of the highlights of the EuroPUR meeting, held this year in Milan, Italy, is the market data provided by Angela Austin of Labyrinth Research and Markets.
The bottom line of this year’s presentation was that the use of flexible polyurethane foam grew in the continent between 2015 and 2016, despite market allocation of raw materials.
According to figures presented by Austin, the EU 28 nations increased their trade surplus in polyurethane foams by 33% in volume terms in 2016 compared with 2015. This equated to a net surplus of EUR 125.5m.
In 2016, the EU 28 exported 50.6 kT flexible polyurethane foam worth € 191m and imported 126 kT. These imports cost EU consumers EUR 65.5 m.
In 2015, the surplus was 25.3 kT in volume terms and EUR 31 m in cash.
The large increase in exports could have be driven by market tightness for TDI and MDI in regions such as Africa and the Middle East. In those regions, it has been hard to secure supplies of the key diisocyanates. European producers have been able to retain supplies, albeit at sustained high prices.
Austin explained, ‘The TDI shortage has led to a disconnect between the toluene…