Rising plastics resin prices could put recovery in the Belgian plastics industry under pressure, according to Federplast.be, the country’s association representing manufacturers of plastic and rubber products.
The organisation this week released the results of a survey it has carried out among its members, which shows that plastics and rubber industry production volume grew by 5.7% in 2010.
While 70% of general managers participating in the survey expect their business to see either stability or growth for this year, most are very concerned about the rising prices of plastic and rubber raw materials.
Since the trough of the crisis in early 2009, the price of many plastics has risen by between 50% and 100%, according to Federplast. Even when compared to pre-crisis price levels in September 2008, most plastics are now higher by between 15% and 25%. And forecasts indicate further increases in for the coming months, says the association. This is expected to put margins under intense pressure.
Despite concerns over materials prices, the survey reveals a positive picture of the Belgian industry. The country’s processors recorded volume growth of 5.7% and turnover growth of 14.9% last year, although employment has continued to decline (by 1.1% in the third quarter of 2010).
"The survey reveals a new optimism among our members," said Stéphane Dalimier, president of Federplast.be. "56% of our CEOs expect growth in their existing markets, while 80% anticipate an increase in new markets. For our dynamic SMEs, the crisis has been a catalyst to seek new opportunities.”
Federplast.be represents more than 300 companies comprising 34,000 employees and a combined turnover of €16bn.