August 7, 2022
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Polyolefin Catalyst Market Size Forecast to Reach $3.6 Billion by 2026

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Overview

Polyolefin catalyst market size is forecast to reach $3.6 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 4.9% during 2021-2026. The polyolefin polymerization using the Ziegler-Natta catalysts, polyolefin has become one of the most important polymers produced industrially. In particular, polyethylene, polypropylene and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber have been widely used for catalysis. The rapid growth of the packaging industry has increased the demand for polyolefin catalysts; thereby, fueling the overall market growth. In addition, increased R&D investment on new manufacturing technologies, along with capacity expansion for polyolefin plants, would also boost product demand in the coming years. Furthermore, the flourishing automotive and packaging industry is also expected to drive the polyolefin catalyst industry substantially during the forecast period.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market COVID-19 Impact

Companies were moving steadily towards their sustainability targets before COVID-19. However, a multitude of industries around the world, especially the packaging industry, have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Innovative developments have been developed by packaging companies that are environmentally friendly, reusable, and biodegradable. Concerns over the hygiene and safety of recycled packaging, however, have temporarily stalled the progress of the packaging industry towards a healthy, evolving and circular supply chain. The use of polyolefin catalysts such as single-site catalyst and ziegler-natta catalyst for injection molding also suddenly halted, contributing to a major loss in the polyolefin catalysts market. Thus, there was a disruption in the supply and demand of packaging materials owing to the pandemic, which largely impacted the polyolefin catalyst market.

Key Takeaways
  • Asia-Pacific dominates the polyolefin catalyst market, owing to the increasing demand for the packaging materials in the region. The increasing per capita income coupled with the population growth is a key factor in the region’s rising personal care and cosmetic products industry.
  • The demand for packaging has pushed steadily towards lightweight and translucent materials. This has resulted in a rising market for films with polyolefin.
  • The increasing commercial performance of polyolefin materials in various end-user segments, including automotive, food and beverage and packaging, among others, is expected to contribute significantly during the forecast period to the overall demand for catalysts.
Polyolefin Catalyst Market Segment Analysis – By Resin

The polypropylene and polyethylene segment held a significant share in the polyolefin catalyst market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.6% during 2021-2026. Polypropylene is being utilized in everything from drinking straws and food containers and reusable water bottles, to thermal underwear, roofing materials, marine ropes and carpet. Polypropylene, the polymerized embodiment of propylene, is both solid and versatile (hence its use in drinking straws), highly resistant to heat (making it useful in laboratory research applications) and lightweight. By polymerizing ethylene, polyethylene (PE) is formed. It is the most common type of plastic that occurs everywhere, from plastic bags and bottles to electrical cable insulation and water pipes. Such wide application of polypropylene and polyethylene is the major factor driving the segment growth.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Segment Analysis – By Catalyst Type

The Ziegler-Natta catalyst segment held the largest share in the polyolefin catalyst market in 2020. Because of their wide use in the production of polypropylene, high density polyethylene, and linear low-density polyethylene, Ziegler-Natta catalysts are the most common. Ziegler-Natta catalyst is used by over 90% of global polypropylene production, while ziegler-Natta catalyst is used by more than 50 percent in all cases in polyethylene production. Another big catalyst used mostly to manufacture high density polyethylene is the Phillips or chromium catalyst (HDPE). The catalyst used for the development of polypropylene is mainly a titanium-based ZN catalyst enabled by aluminium alkydes and external donors, whereas the catalyst used for HDPE comprises titanium, Phillips and metallocene systems. Linear low density polyethylene use over 80% of Ziegler Natta catalyst and metallocene catalyst at a lesser extent.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Segment Analysis – By Application

The film segment held the largest share in the polyolefin catalyst market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.4% during 2021-2026. Among the different polymers that are used in film extrusion, polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE and LLDPE) is the main polymer. PVC films are increasingly being replaced by polyolefin films because they are safer for food packaging and more stable in a wide range of temperatures. In 2018, approximately 2.53 million tonnes of plastic films and sheets were manufactured in Japan, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Japan, reflecting a small increase from about 2.46 million tonnes in 2016. This increase can be attributed to the increasing packaging industry in various regions. Thus, the continuous growth of these industries has made films the largest and fastest-growing segment under the application segmentation of the market during the forecast period.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry

The packaging segment held the largest share in the polyolefin catalyst market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.9% during 2021-2026, owing to the increasing usage of polyolefins in the packaging industry. Polyolefins are chemically inert and do not react with the contents of the material. This makes them perfect food packaging materials. No hazardous chemicals, additives or goods are present that can be ingested by the contents of the packaging and thus consumed by the consumer. Polyolefins, when in contact with food, are extremely healthy. It can then be used to manufacture anything from lightweight food packaging wrap to much heavier film for agricultural use, depending on the thickness of the film. According to the Sea-Circular Organization, the packaging industry in China is projected to record a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.5 percent during the forecast period (2021-2026). It is anticipated that the flourishing packaging industry will accelerate the growth of polyolefin catalyst market for manufacturing packaging materials.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Segment Analysis – By Geography

Asia-Pacific region held the largest share in the polyolefin catalyst market in 2020 up to 38%, owing to the flourishing food & beverage industry, which is boosting the demand for packaging materials in the region. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2018, the total value of all retail food and beverage sales in Japan was $479.29 billion (¥53,339 billion), an overall increase of 2.3 percent. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), China’s food processing industry continued to grow in 2017. Revenue climbed to $1.47 trillion, an increase of 6.3 percent compared with the previous year. The rising disposable income has resulted in the increasing demand for the food and beverage industry in various regions, which is further driving the growth of the packaging material in the region. And with the increasing demand for packaging materials in the region, the demand for polyolefin to manufacture packaging materials will substantially increase, which will then drive the polyolefin market growth in Asia Pacific during the forecast period.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Drivers
Increasing Automotive Production

Polyolefins in automobiles have experienced a great deal of interest in the recent years, and their applications have been increasing with a tendency of further growth compared with other materials used in automobiles. The major advantages of polyolefin catalysts are their functionality, cost-effective manufacturing methods, and comparatively lower fuel consumption. In automobiles, the polyolefin catalysts are largely used in the internal and external areas, in the engine section, and in the bodywork. The automotive production is increasing. For instance, the Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26 (AMP 2026) initiatives is launched by the Indian government to boost the automotive industry in the country. According to Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), the production of passenger cars in Africa was 776,967 in 2018, which then rose to 787,287 in 2019, an increase of 1.3%. Thus, increasing automation production will require more polyolefin catalyst, which will act as a driver for the polyolefin catalyst market.

Increasing Demand for Polyolefins from the Healthcare Industry

In the medical and healthcare sectors, polyolefin catalysts has recently gained traction as they are easy to fabricate into useful products and have increasing design capability. They also have the potential for use in many applications because of their excellent cost/performance values such as low density, easy recyclability, and diverse processability. Biomedical applications of these POs are in medical implants, medical devices, and in the production of pharmaceutical consumables in the form of packaging materials; vials, bottles, and syringes. And the growing investment in healthcare services is strengthening the healthcare industry. For instance, in 2018, the Australian Government announced to drive a new era of better health care in Australia and will invest $1.3 billion in the Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan. According to the European Commission, public expenditure on healthcare and long-term care is expected to increase by one-third by 2060 in Europe. Thus, the polyolefin catalysts market growth will be spurred by the rapid expansion of the healthcare industry across the regions

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Challenges
Volatility in Crude Oil Prices

Polyolefin catalyst is a derivative of crude oil and its domestic price is highly susceptible to the prices of its crude oil-derived feedstock. Both polyethylene and polypropylene are produced from crude oils; thus, increases in feedstock prices in turn hamper the overall production, adversely affecting the market for catalysts. In the last few years, there has been volatility in the price of crude oil. For instance, the price of crude oil has decreased from $98.95/bbl in 2014 to $52.39/bbl in 2015 and increased from $43.73/bbl in 2016 to $71.31/bbl in 2018 and then decreased to $64.21/bbl in 2019, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. And because of this uncertainty in crude oil prices, the price of polyolefin catalysts also increases, which is expected to be a significant challenge for the polyolefin catalyst market manufacturers during the forecast period.

Polyolefin Catalyst Market Landscape

Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the polyolefin catalyst market. Major players in the polyolefin catalyst market are W.R. Grace, Univation Technologies, LLC, LyondellBasell Industries N.V., Johnson Matthey Inc., TOHO Titanium Company Limited, Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., INEOS Group, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc, Clariant AG, Evonik Industries, DuPont, Inc., DORF-KETAL Chemicals India Private Limited, AGC Chemicals Inc., and NOVA Chemicals Corporation.

Acquisitions/Technology Launches
  • In March 2020, LyondellBasell signed definitive agreements to expand in China with the Liaoning Bora Enterprise Group through a 50-50 joint venture. Under the agreement, the partners formed a Sino-foreign joint venture, the Bora LyondellBasell Petrochemical Co. Ltd, which operated a 1.1 million metric tons per annum ethylene cracker and associated polyolefin derivatives complex in Panjin, China.
  • In November 2019, PQ Group Holdings Inc. signed an agreement with INEOS Polyolefin Catalysts to commercialize certain polyethylene catalysts to customers of selected processes. This collaboration expanded PQ’s current catalyst product offering to its customers. In addition, enabled PQ to access new customers through an enhanced product offering and associated technical support.

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