Worldwide demand for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) is forecast to rise 5.5% per annum to 5.8 million metric tons in 2017 according to an upcoming report from Freedonia (Cleveland, OH) entitled World Thermoplastic Elastomers. Advances will reportedly be driven by ongoing product innovation on the part of TPE manufacturers, allowing these materials to further displace traditional elastomers and thermoplastics in a variety of applications. In addition, TPE demand will benefit from the ongoing push to reduce motor vehicle weight, particularly as automotive fuel economy standards worldwide become more stringent.
Healthy growth will also be fueled by an improved economic outlook in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe, while gains in emerging markets will benefit from further adoption of TPEs over competing materials.
Asia Pacific leads
The Asia Pacific region will continue to be the largest market for TPEs through 2017 according to the report, rising at an above average pace to account for nearly half of global demand in 2017. China, the world's largest consumer of TPEs in volume terms, will continue to see strong annual growth in demand. Regional gains will also benefit from robust expansion in India and Southeast Asia, although continued sluggishness in the sizable Japanese market will limit growth. TPE demand in North America and Western Europe will exhibit substantial improvement compared to the recession-plagued 2007-2012 period. Over the long term, however, these regions are expected to account for an increasingly smaller share of global TPE demand. Other world regions will enjoy above-average gains in demand through 2017, particularly the Africa/ Mideast region, where current TPE consumption per capita is the lowest worldwide....