Western Europe accounted for 3.65 MT/year production in 2019, of which 965.3kT was produced in Germany. Western Europe is a mature market, and faster growth was found in Central Europe, at 2.1%, and the Middle East, at 1.5%.
Production in Western Europe grew by just 0.7%, and in Africa, the increase was 0.9%. Poor performance by Russian and Turkish producers led to a 0.4% decline in Eastern European production.
Flexible foam accounted for 34% of the European market, or 2.21 MT, in 2019. This was down by 0.9%. The decline could be as high as 20% in 2020 because of the effects on coronavirus lockdowns on furniture and mattress production in the spring. IAL Consultants said that the amount of shrinkage is not clear from market surveys and companies put the shrinkage anywhere between 10% and 30%.
Rigid foam production grew by 2.3% in 2019 and reached 2.14 MT. Much of the growth in recent years has resulted from tougher insulation standards being introduced in new-build construction.
IAL predicts there will be a fall of about 12.6% in rigid polyurethane foam in 2020 because of the effects of coronavirus on markets in the EMEA region. The greatest opportunity for growth is in Eastern Europe, IAL said. Although this is a price sensitive market, dominated by products like EPS, the market is becoming more aware of the benefits of better insulation. The share of PU is larger than PIR in this market, while in Western European the reverse is the case.
The smallest of the main markets for PU is CASE. Production in 2019 was 924kT/year, but the market is expected to contract by about 16.2% this year. It will only recover to the 2019 level by 2023, IAL said. CASE materials are widely used in the automotive industry, and this was badly hit by the pandemic.
The sealant market in Eastern Europe was the most active, and grew by 5.4% between 2018 and 2019, while adhesives managed 6.3%. Overall, the EMEA market for adhesives and sealants was 436 kT/year in 2019.
Once again, the market has been hammered because of the effect of coronavirus on automotive production. This will push production volume down by 24% in 2020, IAL predicted.
Polyurethane elastomer production was 500kT/year in 2019, but will fall by around 14.7% in 2020 because of coronavirus. In 2019, however, the West European market grew by 1.4%, and Africa by 2.3%. The Middle Eastern Market shrank by 1.5%, while the markets in Central and Eastern Europe were flat.
This information is taken from IAL's updated report, Polyurethane Chemicals and Products in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), 2020.