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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/11/2013 -- BMI's Belgium report examines the short-term trends in the Belgian petrochemicals market as the country struggles with the effects of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. It also assesses the growth and investment strategies of leading players in the industry and how these will drive Belgium's competitiveness in the long-term.
Belgium has, like other countries in Western Europe, experienced a decline in petrochemicals consumption and output as a result of reduced economic activity and contagion from the eurozone debt crisis, which will remain a key threat to economic growth and stability over the medium-term. Overall industrial output growth declined to 1.5% in 2012 (from 3.0% in 2011) as the country entered recession.
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There is growing slack in industry as reflected in the drop in capacity utilisation rates to 76.9% in Q312, from a cyclical high of 82.6% in Q211. Nevertheless, BMI remains fairly upbeat on medium-term projections - with industrial growth of 3.5-4.5% expected over the next five years on the back of strong export growth and a recovery in economic activity, which should support growth in petrochemicals.
BMI examines the following issues:
- Increased investment throughout the value chain, particularly in products utilised by the automotive industry, will improve the external competitiveness of the petrochemicals sector. These developments confirm a high degree of long-term commitment to establishing fully integrated petrochemicals production in Belgium.
- Over the next two years, an additional 432,000tpa polyethylene terephthalate, 50,000tpa cyclohexane and 90,000tpa polyamide capacities are due to be started, boosting the integrated polyester and nylon production chains in Belgium.
- Investment is also concentrated on adding value to polystyrene (PS) and polypropylene (PP) resins with the introduction of new process technology by Total and Sabic.
- Dow is closing 160,000tpa HDPE capacity in Belgium as part of its global restructuring programme.
- Belgium scores 72.5 points in BMI's West Europe Risk/Reward Ratings (RRR) for the petrochemicals industry, up 1.5 points since the previous quarter due to improved country risk. This puts it in fourth place in the rankings, out of a total of six, down one place since 2012 due to an improvement in the Netherlands' score. It now lies 0.5 points ahead of the UK and 1.0 point behind France.
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