Article | July 13, 2021
BEFORE the pandemic, GDP growth rates in the developing world were always higher than in developed economies.And because developing economies had much lower levels of petrochemicals consumption than their rich counterparts, it meant that the multiples over GDP were higher than in the rich word, where consumption was pretty much saturated.
For instance, polyethylene (PE) demand in a developed country such as Germany might have grown at 0.3% times GDP whereas in Indonesia the growth could have been one or more times higher than the rate of growth in GDP.But as The Economist wrote in this 11 July article: “In 2021 the poorest countries, which are desperately short of vaccines, are forecast to grow more slowly than rich countries for only the third time in 25 years.”
Might the multiples over GDP growth also be adversely affected in the developing world, trending lower than the historic norms?
They will almost certainly remain higher than the rich countries. But here is the thing: as millions more people are pushed back into extreme poverty by the pandemic or are denied the opportunity to achieve middle-income status, I believe that developing-world multiples may well decline.Escaping extreme poverty means being able to, say, afford a whole bottle of shampoo for the first time rather than a single-serve sachet, thereby raising per capita polymers consumption.
Article | March 6, 2020
Coronavirus, more accurately referred to as COVID-19, is beginning to impact global supply chains in a tangible way. Although it is impossible to forecast the effect of numerous epidemics worldwide on the fine chemical supply chain specifically, reports suggest that as much as 94% of the Fortune 1000 are already experiencing coronavirus-related supply disruptions. Fortune cites the devastating 2011 tsunami as a case study of how unforeseeable disasters can severely disturb supply chains with far-reaching ramifications. Damage to Mitsubishi Gas Chemical factories in the area affected by the tsunami led to a shortage of bismaleimide triazine (BT) resin; a critical material for electronic substrates.
Article | February 17, 2020
In the last two years, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has launched investigations into seven separate chemical accidents or explosions in the Houston area. Prior to 2018, the CSB only conducted roughly one investigation per year. Investigators believe that the massive increase in accidents which require an investigation by the CSB is due to a variety of factors such as the large number of chemical companies in the Houston area, the age of the infrastructure, and companies being allowed to self-regulate. Many of these explosions and fires have directly led to the deaths of workers, bystanders, millions of dollars in property damage, and the evacuation of tens of thousands of local residents who risk being exposed to toxic chemicals.
Article | May 19, 2021
The market size for polymeric and resin binders in the global printing ink marketwas estimated to be over 1,200,000 MT in 2020, with a CAGR of about five percent. A major driver of this growth comes from the packaging industry, due to increases in consumer spending and online shopping, as well as demand for processed and packaged foods and beverages.
In addition, increased use of water-based inks is promoting market growth, off-setting environmental and health concerns regarding solvent-based inks in addition to strict environmental protection policies. Water-based inks are projected to overtake solvent-based inks due to environmental regulations, the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the pressroom, and improvements in overall print quality.
Ink formulations are complex mixtures, consisting of four basic component classes: pigments, polymeric binder resins, solvents or an aqueous dispersant media, and additives, such as surfactants, waxes, and rheology modifiers that enhance print quality. The purpose of the resin binder is to disperse and carry the ink pigment to the substrate, stabilize the pigment and additives dispersion to prevent settling, and provide print properties such as ink transfer behavior, setting, and drying characteristics. The binder also contributes surface appearance and gloss, strength and flexibility, chemical and solvent resistance, and also rub resistance. Ink binders can be categorized into the following polymer and resin types: acrylics, polyurethanes, polyamides, modified resins, hydrocarbon resins, and modified cellulosics.