Belgium's export sector has traditionally been dominated by relatively low technology goods supplying downstream processors in Germany and elsewhere. However, increased investment throughout the value chain, particularly in products utilised by the automotive industry, will improve the external competitiveness of the petrochemicals sector. The Belgian petrochemicals industry has managed to buck the trend in Western Europe with a rise in capacities in some segments.
Chemicals output declined 0.4% y-o-y in the first eight months of 2015, putting the sector on course for a fourth year of recession. Meanwhile, rubber production rose just 0.8%, although this came after a robust performance in recent years. Plastic output grew 3.1%, a rate of growth was more than double the level achieved in 2014 and considerably better than previous years.
Evonik's addition of 100,000tpa of butadiene capacity in Q215 has supported feedstock for C4-based products, particularly rubber used in the automotive tyre sector. Meanwhile, JBF Industries' new 432,000tpa bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant at Geel, should utilise locally available PTA feedstock. It is feeding PET compounding facilities, which are seeing strong investment growth.
We revised down our forecast for Belgium's real GDP growth down from 1.5% to 1.3% in 2015. However, we expect a stronger performance in 2016 and 2017. Domestic demand will be the primary driver of economic growth with export growth falling off, posing a challenge to Belgium's export-orientated industrial sector.
Belgium is the European country most exposed to an influx of petrochemicals from Iran, when sanctions are anticipated to be lifted in 2016, as Antwerp is set to be the main port of entry. A flood of Iranian polymers would undermine Belgian petrochemicals margins, although on the upside Ineos' ethylene handling facilities amounting to the equivalent of 1mn tpa of ethylene capacity could stimulate downstream growth if Iran is unable to ramp up polymer production.
In 2015, Belgium had ethylene capacity of 2.54mntpa with intermediate and aromatics capacities of 870,000tpa benzene, 890,000tpa ethylbenzene, 1.94mntpa ethylene dichloride (EDC), 810,000tpa vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 600,000tpa xylenes. In terms of polymers, Belgium has capacities of 1.64mn tpa high density polyethylene (HDPE), 930,000tpa low density polyethylene (LDPE), 2.1mn tpa polypropylene (PP), 475,000tpa polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 645,000tpa polystyrene (PS).
Belgium scores 72.2 points in BMI's Europe RRIs for the petrochemical industry, a slight 0.1 point downward revision over the previous year due to a modest downgrade in its country risk score. Nevertheless, it retained its fourth place in the European rankings, 1.0 points behind the UK and the Netherlands and 0.4 points ahead of France. While it is unlikely to rise up the rankings over coming quarters, it could increase its lead over neighbouring France, where capacities are in the process of being cut.
The Belgium Petrochemicals Report has been researched at source, and features BMI Research's market assessment and independent forecasts for key petrochemicals sub-sectors. The report also analyses the impact of regulatory changes, recent developments and the background macroeconomic outlook and features competitive landscapes comparing companies by products and services, sales, market share, investments, projects, partners and expansion strategies.
BMI's Belgium Petrochemicals Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Belgian petrochemicals industry.
- Benchmark BMI's independent petrochemicals industry forecasts to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the Belgian petrochemicals market.
- Target business opportunities and risks in the Belgian petrochemicals sector through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Belgium.
- Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. KPIs and latest activity).
BMI Industry View
Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts, views and trend analysis, covering the petrochemicals markets, regulatory changes, major investments, projects and company developments.
Industry SWOT Analysis
Analysis of the major Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within the petrochemicals sector and within the broader political, economic and business environment.
BMI Industry Forecasts
Historic data series (2009-2013) and forecasts to end-2019 for key industry and economic indicators, supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key risks to the main forecasts. Indicators include:
- Energy: Oil production (‘000 b/d), oil consumption (‘000 b/d), net oil exports (‘000 b/d), gas production (bcm), gas consumption (bcm), net gas exports (bcm), oil refinery capacity (‘000 b/d).
- Petrochemicals: Ethylene capacity (‘000 tpa), ethylene production (‘000 tpa), ethylene consumption (‘000 tpa), polyethylene capacity (‘000 tpa), polypropylene capacity (‘000 tpa), polyvinyl chloride capacity (‘000 tpa), polyolefins consumption (‘000 tpa).
- Oil Products Prices: Price forecasts for all major oil-based products (USD/bbl) at major global energy trading hubs.
- Economic: Nominal GDP (USDbn), real GDP growth (%), GDP per capita (USD), population (mn), unemployment (%), exchange rate (against USD).
BMI’s Petrochemicals Risk Reward Index
BMI’s Risk Reward Indices provide investors (both corporate and financial) looking for opportunities in the region with a clear country-comparative assessment of a market’s risks and potential rewards. Each of the country markets are scored using a sophisticated model that includes more than 40 industry, economic and demographic data points to provide indices of highest to lowest appeal to investors, with each position explained.
Structure, size and value of the industry sector; overview of the industry landscape and key players; assessment of the business operating environment and the latest regulatory developments.
Industry Trends & Developments
Evaluation of company and sector-wide developments, including key projects (as well as expansion plans), latest company financial details and proposed international ventures.
Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.
Global & Regional Market Overview
Analysis of the key trends driving the global industry, including worldwide output/capacity and demand analysis across ethylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene. The regional analysis looks at the implications of local and global trends on specific company activity.
Sub-sectors covered by the Petrochemicals Reports include:
Oil & Gas, Oil Refining, Olefins (ethylene, propylene), Polyolefins (polyethylene, polypropylene), Polyvinyl Chloride, Polystyrene
Please note – not all country Reports cover all sub-sectors – see website for details.
The Petrochemicals Market Reports are based on a network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations (ACC, APLA, Cefi c, ICCA, ICMA), national chambers of commerce and industry, national statistical offi ces, government ministries and central banks, and multinational companies.
*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.