Polyurethane growth in China is slowing as stimulus packages stop, and car makers and appliance producers struggle to balance supply and demand. Report by Liz White, editor
For some time now, China has been the powerhouse of the world’s economy. As the developed world battled the economic rns1s, in many sectors, including polyurethanes, China remained one place where suppliers could depend on seeing consistent high growth.
But commentators now report that this unparalleled growth in the country’s automotive, appliance and construction sectors is starting to come a little unstuck.
And this has direct consequences for the polyurethanes business in China, as these slowing sectors are ones that typically use a large amount of PU foam of all types.
As a result, growth rates in polyurethane are slowing – although they are still far higher than in other regions.
Japanese MDI supplier Nippon Polyurethane Industry Co.Ltd (NPU) has, “recently felt some slowing down of the Chinese economy,” according to Takafumi Kiuchi, business manager for the isocyanates division, in an interview at UTECH Asia/PU China 2011.
“Now the most serious concern is that the Chinese government is tightening credit and that means cash flow is more difficult, and interest rates are higher,” Kiuchi added. As a result “customers are saying they don’t have enough money … and the prices of chemicals are dropping,” Kiuchi said.
NPU keeps a close eye on the market in China, since some 50-60…