Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, the global polymer market will fall more or less in 2020. The polymer catalyst market is showing the same trend.
In general, except for the relatively strong market for polymer catalysts used in packaging and personal protective equipment, the polymer catalyst markets in other fields have declined, with polymer catalysts used in the automotive and durable goods sectors having the largest decline.
With the normalization of epidemic prevention and control in various countries, market participants have analyzed that the polymer catalyst market is expected to recover in the near future. By then, Asia and North America will lead the market growth.
International catalyst giants generally agree that the market is recovering.
In the first September of 2020, the sales revenue from the catalyst business of Clariant, the world's leading specialty chemicals company, fell 9% year-on-year in Swiss francs. The company’s senior vice president and general manager of the catalyst business, Hauser, said: “The market demand for polypropylene is shifting from the copolymer grade used in the automotive industry to the non-woven grade used in masks, medical supplies, and food packaging. The epidemic still has a negative impact on the global economy, but I believe that the increasing demand for polypropylene is expected to drive market growth, and it will also strengthen the catalyst market. Hudson, President and CEO of Grace, the global catalyst giant, also believes that global demand for polymer catalysts is strengthening. He said: “The demand for polyolefin catalysts in all regions and all areas of the world is improving. Among them, the non-durables end market continues to perform strongly, especially in the fields of hygiene and packaging applications. Durable goods terminal market applications are showing signs of recovery. However, demand in some specific areas will still be lower than 2019 levels. "Grace expects that its specialty catalyst business sales revenue will improve.
Regarding which region will lead the growth of the catalyst market in the future, the international catalyst giants also have a consistent answer.
Alan Reinwalter, vice president of polymer catalyst business at Nollion, a global leader in specialty chemicals, said that the main regions driving the growth of polymer catalyst demand are Asia and North America.
Asia is because polymer demand is still growing rapidly, and a large amount of production capacity needs to be built to meet the demand growth;
North America is because the advantages of local shale gas are driving the construction of a large number of petrochemical projects based on shale gas, including a large amount of polymer production capacity, thereby driving the growth of polymer catalyst demand.
Nollion said that trends such as energy transition, circular economy and digital revolution will have a significant impact on the polymer industry and create opportunities for the growth of the polymer catalyst market.
Hauser said: "From a global perspective, polypropylene will play an important role, especially in China and India. In the next five years, a large number of new polypropylene production capacity will be put into production in these countries, which will drive the growth of polypropylene catalyst demand."
At the same time, many catalyst suppliers said that if the demand for catalysts increases in the next few years, they are ready.
Noorion said that it has invested in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and India to increase the production capacity of polymer catalysts in preparation for the recovery of future market demand. In addition, the company has acquired the triethyl aluminum business of Sasol in South Africa. Triethyl aluminum is a metal alkyl material, mainly used as a co-catalyst for polymer production. The transaction strengthens Norion's global position.
Clariant said it is continuing to work on optimizing the product range of polymer catalysts. In order to support the need for safer polypropylene catalysts, Clariant has developed a new PolyMax 600 series catalyst in cooperation with Lumms Technology Corporation of the United States, which replaces phthalate-based polyolefin catalysts, and is more suitable for everything from food packaging to automobiles Polymer production needs in component applications.
Grace said that the company's specialty catalyst business has broadened its technical footprint through acquisitions, and currently has all the technologies that can fully meet customer needs.
In addition, the company has recently launched 15 new catalyst products, and is actively carrying out customer trials after a serious delay due to the new crown epidemic. The catalyst testing activity is an important element driving the long-term growth of catalyst sales.
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