European Plastics industry Cautiously Optimistic as it Faces up to Challenges on Many Fronts
In 2013, the European plastics industry finds itself fighting battles on several fronts, many of them conditioned by the uncertain state of the overall economy in the region.
Austerity measures in many countries have affected investments in building and construction projects; consumers are not buying as many new cars as they used to; smaller, more affordable products that continue to sell well, such as smartphones and tablets, are made elsewhere. All of these trends affect European plastics processors.
Upstream, polymer production plants are closing, owing to stagnant demand and increased imports of mainstream polymers from the Middle East and, more recently, the US.
On the positive side, Europe continues to be strong in development, production and use of higher performance plastics; the small but extraordinarily active bioplastics sector is showing important growth, thanks to increasing awareness in all walks of life of the importance, not only in biodegradability, but in carbon footprints and sustainability as a whole. Plus, despite the forward march of Chinese equipment producers, some major European suppliers of injection moulding and extrusion equipment are reporting record sales...
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