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Polyolefin demand growing quickly in India


India’s polyolefins market is expected to grow 12 percent to about 7.5 million metric tons in 2011, with double-digit growth in consumption of both polypropylene and polyethylene, according to an estimate from Reliance Industries Ltd., the country’s largest resin producer.

The general growth of India’s economy, where GDP rose 8.3 percent last year, is boosting plastic consumption in many different industries, along with opportunities to convert existing applications like milk bottles or liquid soap packaging to plastic, said U.K. Saroop, vice president of the polypropylene business at Mumbai-based Reliance.
Some of the sectors seeing good growth, he said, include automobiles, the packaging material raffia (which is the country’s single largest PP sector), other packaging sectors like caps and closures, furniture, housewares, and at smaller levels, sectors like medical.
The fastest growth rate will come in PP, which is expected to see an 18 percent rise this year, followed by 15 percent increases for the next four or five years, he said.
The hike in PP use in India will push consumption from 2.2 million metric tons to 2.6 million tons in 2011, he said in a presentation at the Plastivision 2011 trade show, held in Mumbai from January 20 to January 24.
One of the largest PP markets, injection molding, has seen 12 percent growth rates the last few years as the automotive market has expanded, he said.
 “We are expecting very good growth in the next few years,” Saroop said.
Measured on a per capita basis, though, India’s plastic consumption lags that of many of its neighbors or other emerging economies.
In PP, for example, he said India uses about 2 kilograms per person annually, compared with 8.7 kg in China, 5.3 kg in Southeast Asia and 9.4 kg in the Middle East.
Indian per capita PP consumption is expected to hit five to six kilograms by 2015, when the overall PP consumption is targeted at around 4.7 million metric tons, Saroop said.
The other polyolefin markets are also growing but not as quickly as PP. Polyethylene consumption is expected to expand about 12 percent this year, from 2.6 million metric tons to 2.9 million tons, and the PVC market is expected to grow about five percent, to just under 1.9 million tons, Reliance estimated.
Saroop said if you add in other resins, such as PET, nylon and other engineering grades, total consumption in India this year is expected to be about 8.5 million tons.

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