China has outdistanced North America to become the biggest market for synthetic latex polymers in 2021.
Several key factors drove growth in the country at a faster pace than in the other large regional markets of the world, according to Shilpi Mehrotra, Industry Manger in our Chemicals sector. They include regulatory pressure to use water-based emulsions, a booming glove industry driven by COVID-19 pandemic, and an overall quick recovery from the impacts of COVID for most Chinese industries.
While the initial lockdown in the first quarter of 2020 negatively impacted many industries, manufacturing recovered during the latter half of the year. Meanwhile, Mehrotra says, the pandemic had a different impact on the demand for synthetic latex polymers across different end-use industries. Paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, construction, carpet, glass fiber, and printing inks decelerated but still maintained an upward trend. Textile witnessed a major slowdown, but nonwovens benefitted from hygiene products’ demand and witnessed growth in the double digits.
The glove industry experienced tremendous growth — over three times that of 2020 — since AB-nitrile gloves were in huge demand in domestic and overseas markets during the pandemic. In the global demand arena, the Chinese glove industry leveraged on COVID-caused manufacturing restrictions imposed on Malaysian glove factories. However, Mehrotra notes, a part of China’s newly added glove capacity can quickly become redundant with Malaysia resuming global supply. This means the demand for AB-nitrile peaked in China in 2021, and most likely, will slightly decrease over the next few years before stabilizing.
China is also the most fragmented market for emulsion polymers in terms of supply, with more than 70 significant suppliers and many smaller ones. And while there is a good mix of multinational and local Chinese suppliers in the country, Chinese suppliers dominate the market.
Overall, China is expected to maintain its largest global market status for synthetic latex polymers over the next few years. Glass fiber will be one of the fastest-growing applications.
For more insights on the subject, be on the lookout for Kline’s Synthetic Latex Polymers: China Business Analysis and Opportunities report. A comprehensive analysis of the complex market of synthetic latex polymers for different applications, it provides a detailed assessment of market size, competitive landscape, trends, and opportunities for all major and minor synthetic latex polymers.