Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/11/2014 -- The availability of naphtha in the UAE will be boosted by refinery expansion at Ruwais, helping to retain the Emirati industry's competitive edge and enabling it to produce a wider range of products, according to BMI's latest. The 400,000 barrels per day (b/d) Ruwais refinery is undergoing an expansion scheduled to be fully operational in 2014.
The global packaging market, which is a major consumer of polymers, will play an important role in the UAE's petrochemicals growth outlook. The Arabian Gulf states account for 5% of the world's manufacturing capacity for these products with the UAE aiming the raise its share with further diversification downstream. Growth in this segment is forecast at least 5% over the medium term, led by the developing world. However, in spite of efforts to move further down the hydrocarbons chain to make higher-value products from raw petrochemicals, the UAE has a long way to go.
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The hangover effects of China's economic stimulus are yet to be felt, and cooling credit growth is likely to reveal these effects over the coming quarters. Growth in demand for synthetic rubber and engineering plastics in the automotive industry is set to cool slightly, impacting on the UAE's petrochemicals exports.
As Chinese wages have continued rising over the years, China's attractiveness as a manufacturing and export hub, on the back of cheap labour, is diminishing. Our long-term auto production forecasts take that into account and we see them growing in line with our auto sales forecasts, mostly to satisfy domestic demand. Nevertheless, by 2018, automotive production should be around 45% higher than in 2012, providing a strong base for consumption of synthetic rubber and engineering plastics. Retail sales growth will come in at above 7%, which again is below historical standards but should help absorb some of the growth in polymers with increased consumption of consumer goods.
The Indian automotive sector should provide a boost to engineering plastics over the medium term, particularly in the PP segment, although the industry will be in the doldrums until H214. Production is set to fall 1.1% in FY2013/14 but by FY2017/18 the number of vehicles produced will be around a third more than in FY2012/13. Nevertheless, PP imports grew by around 40% to 325,000 tonnes in FY2012/13 despite the volatility in the value of the rupee. A series of major projects are due to come on stream in 2014 that will significantly boost Indian petrochemicals output, although many of these were supposed to come on stream by end-2013 and have been delayed.
- By 2016, BMI expects ethylene capacity of 5mn tpa in the UAE, up from 2mn tpa in 2013, with PE more than tripling to 3.52mn tpa and PP rising by nearly 170% to 2.14mn tpa over the period.
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