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Indian Polypropylene Exports Swell Driven by Booming Demand from China


Indian Polypropylene Exports Swell Driven by Booming Demand from China

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘India – Polypropylene In Primary Forms – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Indian exports of primary polypropylene skyrocketed from 518K tonnes in 2019 to 794K tonnes in 2020 due to robust supplies to China, Turkey and Viet Nam. In value terms, exports reached $673M, rising by +22.5% y-o-y in 2020. China remains the largest importer, accounting for 44% of total polypropylene exports from India. Turkey and Viet Nam were distantly following China. Last year, China boosted its purchases from 130K tonnes in 2019 to 352K tonnes in 2020, while Turkey saw a 12%-growth. Viet Nam has also significantly increased the imports from India. In 2020, the average export price for primary polypropylene from India amounted to $847 per tonne, dropping by -20.1% y-o-y.

Indian Polypropylene Exports by Country

India’s polypropylene exports surged from 518K tonnes in 2019 to 794K tonnes in 2020. In value terms, polypropylene in primary forms exports soared to $673M (IndexBox estimates), rising by +22.5% y-o-y in 2020.

China (352K tonnes) was the main destination for polypropylene in primary forms exports from India, with a 44% share of total exports. Moreover, polypropylene in primary forms exports to China exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, Turkey (102K tonnes), threefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Viet Nam (61K tonnes), with a 7.7% share.

China increased its imports from 130K tonnes in 2019 to 352K tonnes in 2020. Turkish purchases grew from 90K tonnes to 102K tonnes over the same period. Exports to Viet Nam rose from 37K tonnes in 2019 to 61K tonnes in 2020.

In value terms, China ($279M) remains the key foreign market for polypropylene in primary forms exports from India, comprising 41% of total exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Turkey ($90M), with a 13% share of total exports. It was followed by Viet Nam, with a 7.8% share.

In 2020, the average polypropylene in primary forms export price amounted to $847 per tonne, shrinking by -20.1% against the previous year. Average prices varied noticeably for the major external markets. In 2020, the countries with the highest prices were Nepal ($935 per tonne) and Italy ($909 per tonne), while the average price for exports to China ($791 per tonne) and Portugal ($860 per tonne) were amongst the lowest. In 2020, the most notable growth rate in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to Bangladesh, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced a decline.

Source: IndexBox Platform

floor covers

Nonwoven Floor Covers Market to Witness Traction for Polypropylene Materials

With nonwovens fabrics providing cost-effective solutions for a slew of end-use applications, nonwoven floor covers market value is slated to surge in the next five years. Nonwoven fabrics are flexible, flat, and have porous sheet structures produced by networks of fibers or interlocking layers or filaments.

Tailwinds such as flame retardancy, resilience, liquid repellency, softness, washability, bacterial barrier, strength, and sterility have augured well for forward-looking companies eyeing to expand their business portfolios. Global Market Insights, Inc., has projected nonwoven floor covers market size to witness substantial gains by 2026.

Industry dynamics and trends which are touted to boost the market outlook are delineated below:

Impact of COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic having a toll on the construction industry, there are reduced opportunities for the purchase of existing housing. Demand for floor covers for kitchen, dining rooms, and commercial spaces may take a hit.

The silver lining is that people are spending more time in enclosures—homes, and offices. Textiles have become a tremendous tool to boost the personification of the living and working environment.

The post-COVID situation is likely to instill confidence among stakeholders as flooring is gradually being replaced in old buildings to create a novel appearance. Penetration of polypropylene material will potentially surge in the next five years.

Traction towards polypropylene to drive growth

Traction for non-woven polypropylene products in a slew of household applications has become more pronounced than ever before for cleaning and aesthetic applications. High-quality polypropylenes have set the trend in living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms as demand for safe, comfortable, hygienic solutions continue to surge.

More importantly, tremendous chemical resistance, low price, low heat resistance, and low physical properties of polypropylene have furthered triggered growth in the market share.

Polypropylene floor covering will witness pressing demand in light of antibacterial potential, tremendous chemical resistance to acids, high abrasion resistance, and insulation abilities. It is worth noting that hydrophobic and low thermal conductivity features make PP a highly sought-after material.

Trends in commercial settings become noticeable

The palpable trend for nonwoven floor covers in both residential and commercial settings has mustered up the confidence of stakeholders. Stakeholders are buoyed by the fact that nonwoven floor covers have good density and high tear strength, making them highly sought-after in commercial spaces.

Traction for nonwoven textiles for commercial coverings in offices will accentuate the growth of floor covers as the textiles help reduce the costs for sound and thermal insulating materials. Not to mention floor coverings are abrasion resistance, stain resistance, and have tear strength.

Impressive demand for nonwovens in commercial spaces will largely depend upon the sustainability factor of the covering. For instance, nonwoven floor covers are fueling the trend in public buildings such as hospitals, offices, and hotels. As they do not reflect light, they are being used for glare reduction in the indoor ambiance in the commercial landscape.

Growth opportunities in North America and Asia Pacificconstr

North America is likely to come up as a happy hunting ground in light of the growing footprint of polypropylene and polyamide floor covers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Bullish demand for nonwoven floor covers has encouraged manufacturers to expand their penetration. Application of nonwoven floor covers made of polyamide and polypropylene may gain considerable grounds in the U.S. landscape.

With a steady rise in construction activities, demand for nonwoven floor coverings in residential and commercial spaces in India and China will fuel APAC nonwoven floor covers market outlook. Recent years have witnessed increased traction towards polypropylene floor coverings, with end-users focusing on noise level reduction.

Fluctuating prices to derail growth

Some of the factors such as fluctuating prices and sense of odors may dent the market size expansion.

Nonwovens will be highly sought-after in home furnishing, bedrooms, dining halls and living rooms, while commercial spaces will also be a major recipient of the floor coverings. With resistance to bacteria, comfortable and lightweight attributes associated with polypropylene, strong demand for PP will spur the market value.

polypropylene fibers

3 Major Trends Driving Polypropylene Fiber Market Expansion

Shifting to renewable plastics, to address growing environmental concerns without compromising on the superior characteristics of plastics, will be a major factor driving the growth of polypropylene fiber industry.

Polymers are among the most commonly used materials in nearly every aspect of modern life. Polymers have been in use for centuries, and have rapidly integrated themselves into applications across myriad dominions of technologies, science, and industry.

While natural fibers have been in existence since early civilizations, man-made fibers were developed at the end of the 19th century, when the first regenerated or semi-synthetic materials were discovered. While completely synthetic polymers were created early in the 20th century, most fibers used commonly in modern applications gained prominence only in the 1960s and 70s.

One of the most prominent polymer types, polypropylene, first came to light when it was polymerized by two Phillips petroleum scientists, Robert Banks, and Paul Hogan. The material began to gain prominence over the next three years, especially once it started being commercially produced, following the perfection and synthesis of the first polypropylene resin by an Italian chemist, Prof. Giulio Natta in 1954. Polypropylene emerged fully into the commercial landscape by 1957 and gained massive popularity across the European region, gradually establishing itself as one of the most common types of plastics in the modern world.

The 1970s saw the first fibers from polypropylene being introduced into the textile industry and becoming a core part of the synthetic fibers industry.

Polypropylene fibers, also known as PP, refers to a synthetic fiber, which is transformed from 85% propylene. The materials demonstrate vast potential across several applications, most significantly in the manufacture of yarns. For instance, most affordable carpets used for domestic purposes are made using polypropylene fiber.

The rapid growth of the polypropylene fiber market in recent years is attributed mainly to the plethora of benefits demonstrated by the material, such as heat-insulating properties, lightweight, resilience, high resistance to organic solvents, acids, alkalies, and mildew, etc.

Burgeoning interest in polypropylene fiber reinforced concrete for construction applications

In the construction domain, the integrity and life of the structure depend heavily on its resistance against conditions such as chemical attacks, weathering action, abrasion, and other degradation processes throughout its life.

Concrete has long been considered the most preferred material for construction applications, owing to its low permeability, higher resistance against mechanical and chemical attacks, and enhanced mechanical properties, among others. While the compressive strength of concrete significantly impacts its behavior, its tensile strength is equally important with regard to its durability and appearance. However, concrete alone has a relatively low tensile strength. To address this, concrete is becoming increasingly reinforced with various types of fibers, in order to improve its crack arresting system, flexural tensile strength, and the ductile behavior of the basic matrix post cracking.

The use of polymeric materials for concrete modification has been a source of great interest and research over the past few decades. Polypropylene fibers, for instance, were first considered as suitable admixtures to concrete in the year 1965, in the construction of blast-resistant structures for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Since then the material has undergone persistent improvements over the years and is used in modern applications as a short discontinuous fibrillated material for polypropylene fiber reinforced concrete production, or in the manufacture of thin sheet components as a continuous mat.

PFRC (polypropylene fiber reinforced concrete), especially, is used extensively in the construction of various structures, owing to the robust properties it demonstrates from the addition of fibers, such as flexural strength, impact strength, tensile strength, and increased toughness. PP is the preferred material of choice for these applications, mainly because of its vast availability, economic price points, and consistency in quality.

Textile innovations in polypropylene fiber-based fabrics for sportswear 

Textiles are the first and most prominent application areas for the polypropylene fiber industry. High abrasion resistance, non-absorption of liquids, stains and dirt, washing ease, and color resistance are the major factors contributing to the popularity of these synthetic fibers over their natural counterparts in the textile industry.

Increasing standards and perceptions of customers across the globe have triggered a need for textile innovation in recent years. The sportswear market especially has witnessed a prolific rise in customer propensity towards higher comfort levels, easy-care, and attractive designs in their activewear. This in turn has prompted many key players to innovate functional fibers, novel structures and garments, designed to address these evolving customer needs.

For instance, one of the most common challenges faced by manufacturers of protective wear and sportswear is finding a high-performance, durable fabric that can remain hygienic and comfortable for its wearers. PP is the most commonly used material in active wear due to its durability and wear-resistance, but unlike cotton or wool, it is not sweat-absorbent, which can impact its performance in terms of comfort.

To address this, the EUREKA initiative’s E! 2709 BASTEX project came up with novel antibacterial additives, designed to be incorporated into polypropylene fiber-based materials in order to manufacture high-performance clothing. The concentration of the additive was defined such that it would demonstrate optimum antibacterial and hygienic properties and ensure wearer comfort, without affecting the durability and physical & mechanical properties of the polypropylene fibers.

Strategic initiatives by global players will present lucrative innovation prospects

Synthetic fibers, while widely popular across myriad industries are associated with several environmental concerns. For instance, studies suggest that the synthetic fiber industry is the cause of over 20% of the industrial water pollution across the globe. In order to address these concerns and create a more sustainable and durable alternative to harmful synthetic materials, several key players are making targeted efforts to develop new strategies and innovations in fiber technologies.

To illustrate, in June 2020, HP introduced its new material called High Reusability Polypropylene (PP). The novel, chemically resistant, durable material has been qualified for the company’s production-grade additive manufacturing systems. Designed for HP customers in the customer space as well as industries such as medical and automotive, the new BASF-enabled 3D High Reusability PP demonstrates qualities similar to regular polypropylene, including low moisture absorption rate, high durability, and robust resistance to chemical wear and tear.

Likewise, Borouge, Borealis, and ITOCHU made a joint announcement regarding their strategic intent to evaluate the benefits of integrating renewable polypropylene in the Japanese market. This move is a part of Japan’s countermeasures against climate change worldwide, including its plan to introduce nearly 2 million tons of renewable plastic products into the market by 2030. The joint effort will contribute significantly to this shift to renewable plastics, and address growing environmental concerns without compromising on the superior characteristics of plastics like polypropylene.