By David Reed, UT EditorLondon-Although the polyurethane industries of Argentina and Venezuela are in “almost terminal decline,” the main market in the region, Brazil, “has started an impressive recovery during the first half of 2004,” according to a second market report on the South American region compiled by IAL Consultants Ltd. Total consumption in the whole region, from Mexico down to Argentina, reached 591 700 tonnes in 2003, the London-based market research firm said.While this is a mere 6 percent of the global total, IAL suggests the economies of most of the constituent countries are starting to emerge from four years of economic recession and some good growth opportunities exist. “Wages have risen by 10 percent during the past year, making labour rates higher, but also generating consumer demand for more footwear, furniture, vehicles and appliances,” the report indicates.”Overall, Brazil is considered to the ‘best bet for investors’ in the Americas,” IAL continues. “Mexico, too, continues to grow at the expense of the USA and Canada as the maquiladora (assembly) industry gathers pace,” says the report. These two countries account for three quarters of the total polyurethanes business for the region (see graph) and, “elsewhere in the region, future production is difficult to assess,” IAL adds.The Brazilian market-totalling 291 650 tonnes in 2003-is dominated by flexible foam use, accounting for 54 percent of the business in 2003, according to IAL. Perhaps surprisingly, elastomers-primarily going into footwear-account for a sizeable 13 percent of the total, ahead of both moulded flexible foams (11 percent) and refrigeration (8 percent). Rigid foams (8 percent), adhesives (4 percent), and comprise the rest of Brazil’s business.Production of polyurethane products in Chile, Colombia and the smaller countries continues to grow albeit from a small base, in line with rising living standards and growing urban populations, the IAL report adds.Titled The Market for Polyurethane Chemicals and Products in South America and Mexico, the 148-page report, with about 90 tables costs $3250 from IAL Consultants Ltd, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 8832 7780; Fax: +44 (0)20 8566 4931; Email: email@example.com; Web: www.ialconsultants.com”
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