AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. (Industry Association for Reinforced Plastics) has just released its annual report on the GRP composites market. According to the report, the market in question is experiencing for the first time one of the strongest collapses since the 2008/2009 economic and financial crisis. This decline is no doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic that has been going on since February.
The total production volume decreased by 12.7%. The biggest losses are recorded in the transport sector, also the automotive and aeronautical fields are affected by this crisis.
AVK Market Report 2020 analyzes only those European countries whose production quantities can be effectively registered. Germany remains the largest manufacturer of GRP with 207,000 tonnes.
Glass Fibre Reinforced systems (GRP)
Regardless of the other market segments, the dominant materials that are chosen in terms of quantity are still glass fibre reinforced systems. More than 90% of fibre reinforced plastics/composites production is made from glass fibre.
However, it should be noted that the declines in the GRP sector will be worse than those in the overall economy. This because the two main customers for GRP products are sectors affected by the economic downturn: the transport and construction field.
The corona pandemic isn’t the exclusive reason for the weak market environment
In 2019 markets were already stressed by growing political uncertainty both within the EU and in international trade. Despite its relatively small size, the composites market is characterized by close international ties.
Other factors have significantly weakened Intra-European trade and consequently led to a decline in the expectations and future development of the composites market.
Here are some examples:
- Trade conflicts
- The protectionist policies of various countries
- The slowdown in world trade
It’s clear that the pandemic came when an unsettled overall economic climate was already present and widespread, together with increasing stock market uncertainty and declining investment activity.
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