Growing demand for durable goods, and the production of
those goods in Asia and China, in particular, means that,
through 2016, Northeast Asia will continue to be the largest
consumer of nylon engineering resins, a specialty chemicals
group of engineering plastics used for production of a broad
range of applications including component parts for
automobiles, electronics and appliances. This is according to a
new global market study issued by IHS. The study focuses on
engineering plastic markets and applications, and covers
historical developments and future projections for supply, demand,
capacity and trade in the global nylon 6 and nylon 6,6
engineering thermoplastic resin markets for 2006 to 2016.
In 2011, Northeast Asia led global consumption of nylon 6
resin at nearly 45% of the market, while it consumed slightly
more than 30% of global demand for nylon 6,6, with much of this
regional demand for both attributed to China. According to the
report, global demand for these specialty resins is expected to
grow at an average rate of 4% per year for nylon 6, and nearly
5% per year for nylon 6,6, during the forecast period.
A great deal of the worlds production of
consumer durable goods has moved from other regions to China,
making China the global workshop, and nylon components are used
in many of the durable goods produced, said Paul
Blanchard, senior principal chemical analyst at IHS and lead
author of the report. While most nylon is used in
production of synthetic fibers and filaments, nylons
combination of mechanical strength, heat performance and
chemical resistance make it an attractive replacement for metal
in many engineering plastic applications.
The market expansion for these specialty
plastics is driven in large part by the need to reduce weight,
emissions and the cost of automobiles. Pushed by consumers and
governments to produce energy-efficient, less polluting cars,
auto manufacturers are increasingly replacing metal with parts
made from compounded nylon resins. According to Mr. Blanchard,
this trend will continue to expand demand for these engineering
resins going forward.
Heat resistance, in particular, is critical if you
consider that making vehicles smaller requires more components
to coexist and operate in a smaller space under the hood, with
fewer design options to minimize exposure to heat generated by
the engine, he said. Nylon is the material of
choice for high-heat situations because of its combination of
performance and price.
According to the study, Chinas demand dominance for
these specialty resins isnt just tied to its need to
satisfy export demand, but, increasingly, to also meet its own
growing domestic consumption of durable goods.
China introduced very effective economic incentives in
2009 to grow its domestic consumer demand for durable goods, a
move which helped the country during the recession, Mr.
Blanchard said. With regard to nylon, a collapse in
Chinas export market demand for finished goods early in
the recession was largely offset by increased domestic demand
for automobiles, appliances and electronics as well as higher
demand for nylon fibers.
This domestic demand for products, he added, coupled with a
recovery of export demand in 2010, resulted in growth in demand
for nylon and intermediates, increasing Chinas reliance
on imported materials and tightening global supply
As a result of increased demand and tightening supply,
nylon prices increased globally. Only in the third quarter of
2011 have we seen prices ease as global demand for chemicals
softened due to the ongoing economic crisis, said Mr.
Blanchard. The expansion of nylon capacity is
dependent upon the availability of intermediate materials, and
while new nylon capacity is expected to be added, the price and
availability of that capacity is still going to be impacted by
the supply of intermediates, at least until the middle of the
next decade. HP