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 Health care market a bright spot for plastics suppliers     Schott Pharma AG & Co.   There is never a bad time for an industry to generate some new ideas, some fresh thinking or some innovative approaches. After all, there are always problems to solve. And maybe I am a little biased, but it just seems to me that the U.S. manufacturing sector — and in particular the plastics industry — could use some fresh ideas and innovations right about now. The triennial NPE always delivers some fresh ideas to the market. The fact that it has been six years, or I should say six extraordinary years, since the last NPE convened, means we are all more eager than ever to learn what's new. So the timing of the event this year feels auspicious. For that reason, I wanted to come up with a suitably auspicious topic to write about for this column. Unfortunately, most of the U.S. manufacturing sector and the bulk of the plastics industry are in the doldrums at the present time. The current interest rate environment in the U.S. remains restrictive to those industry segments that are susceptible to higher costs for financing. And since the pandemic ended, there has also been an unfavorable shift away from goods and into services in household spending patterns. This double whammy has resulted in trends in overall manufacturing as well as the overall output of plastic products, which are best described as flat-to-down. As of the second quarter of 2024, these lackluster trends have persisted for more than a year. But there is one market segment that is thriving, and that is medical equipment and supplies. As I said, Americans have significantly increased the amount of money they are spending on services, and one category of the services sector that is experiencing the strongest growth is health care. Not surprisingly, this increased spending on health care has raised demand for medical supplies. In the three-year span since the pandemic year of 2020, total U.S. output of medical equipment and supplies has enjoyed an average annual growth rate of almost 5 percent per year. Total output of these products hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of last year, and the graph looks poised to make a run at another record high this year. Just to be clear, this industrial production data measures equipment and supplies made from all types of materials, not just plastic. But rest assured that plastic materials are quite prevalent in the medical industry, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. In fact, I expect plastics to become even more prevalent given the recent historical trends.        The trend in the data on this chart is corroborated by the trend in the consumer spending data for health care services. In the three years since the pandemic, inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditures for health care have increased by about 5 percent per year. That is just about the same annual growth rate we see in the output of medical products during that time. So, despite rising interest rates and higher-than-normal levels of inflation, this sector of the U.S. economy has registered real growth of about 5 percent per year. And it's hitting that level of growth despite the fact that the pandemic is long past. Now that's auspicious. And based on the trends in the recent data, I expect the sturdy growth to continue. Spending for medical goods and services has always been a priority for American households, and that commitment has strengthened in the past few years. The current robust trends in U.S. health care consumption notwithstanding, there are always risks to the outlook that must be managed. I will mention a couple of them — one of them is more immediate and one is longer term. If you have not heard about the situation with UnitedHealth already, then you will no doubt be made aware of it very soon. This company — or more specifically, a subsidiary of this company called Change Healthcare — was the victim of a recent cyberattack. As a result of this attack, a huge swath of doctors, pharmacies and hospitals were unable to conduct their business at anywhere near normal levels. It is estimated that Change Healthcare processes about half of all Americans' health claims. This is a huge company. And Congress is now concerned that it has become too big. This company is so large, I doubt if there are any manufacturers of plastic medical supplies and parts that do not do business with UnitedHealth or one of its subsidiaries. The company was able to grow to the current size because of the insatiable demand for their services, but when companies become "too big to fail," the systemic risks become magnified. Any disruptions to a such company might be catastrophic for smaller companies in the supply chain. The longer-term risk to my outlook comes from the question, "Why do we need so much health care anyway?" The U.S. outspends all other countries on health care by a vast amount, but according to my cursory Google search, we rank only 47th on the list of life expectancy. As an economist, I have always believed that healthy people spend less on health care products and services, not more. Personally, I would much rather spend my money on other types of goods and services rather than health care products, and I make lifestyle choices based on this preference. Here again, I might be biased, so maybe an outbreak of healthier lifestyle choices is not a real risk to the outlook after all. I will leave that for you to decide.  * source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/health-care-market-bright-spot-plastics-suppliers 
이명규 기자 2024-05-25
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 Turbulence in resin prices sees some rise, others fall      April had a little bit of everything in commodity resin pricing, with North American prices for two materials up, one down and two flat. The battle for polyethylene pricing in April spilled over into May before producers were able to secure a 3-cent-per-pound increase. Regional PE prices had been flat for the previous two months and five of the previous six, with the exception of a 5-cent hike that took hold in January. Buyer resistance to the April hike could mean that the increase will be a short-lived one, with prices dropping a similar amount in May or June, market sources said. Some suppliers also have a 3-cent increase on the table for May. "Most suppliers have said the [April] increase could have or should have happened in February or March," a PE buyer in the Southeast U.S. said. "The fact that the market began to soften in April is where the dispute [on the increase] is coming into play a bit." Market analyst Mike Burns said regional PE buyers "are very frustrated" with the April increase. "There's nothing out there to justify it," added Burns of Plastic Resin Market Advisors. "There's no driver based on cost, and the market is oversupplied." The only potential reasoning behind the April hike was that U.S./Canadian PE sales for the month were the highest in two years, according to the American Chemistry Council. But PE inventories in the region remained relatively high in spite of the sales boost. "Domestic demand remains fairly good, and exports are very strong," a PE buyer in the Midwest U.S. said. "Domestic inventories aren't short, but they're at a relatively low level, mainly due to exports." Exports of PE resin from the U.S. and Canada reached an all-time high of 45 percent of total production in 2023. The export rate is slightly higher than that record level so far in 2024. By comparison, exports accounted for 23-28 percent of North American PE production in 2015-18 and 33-39 percent of that amount in 2019-22. A considerable amount of PE capacity added in the last 10 years because of low-priced shale gas and oil has been intended for export markets.  PVC ticks up North American PVC resin prices also ticked up 1 cent per pound in April 1, marking the third consecutive monthly price increase for that material. PVC prices in the region had increased 2 cents in March and 3 cents in February. Demand has increased as most of North America gears up for construction season. In February, domestic PVC sales surpassed 900 million pounds for the first time since August 2022. One market source said that recent PVC resin production "showed no signs of turnaround activity impacting supply as inventory increased." U.S. housing starts for March came in at an annual rate of 1.46 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is down more than 4 percent vs. February, but up 1.5 percent vs. the same month in 2023. Construction activity accounts for about 60 percent of North American PVC demand.  PP falls Lower feedstock costs sent North American polypropylene resin prices tumbling an average of 10 cents per pound in April. That drop matched a price decline for polymer-grade propylene (PGP) feedstock. The April price drop for PP reversed a trend that had seen prices for the material increase for three consecutive months and six times in the previous seven months. The previous three increases totaled 10 cents, so the April drop returns prices to where they were at the start of 2024. PGP supplies had been tight earlier in 2024 because of mechanical issues at production sites and the effects of a brief cold snap in Texas, where much of the PGP and PP production is located. But most of those units have returned to full production. PP supplier BlueClover of New York said in a research report that "each week it seems that the seven-month bull market in PGP has broken and a bear market has established itself." The report added the firm estimates that physical PGP pricing will continue to trend lower into May and June. "Supply for PGP has improved from the first quarter," officials added. They cited lower demand for PGP because of PP outages, slow domestic PP demand and low export volumes as reasons for the increase in PGP supply. In a recent PP forecast, market analyst David Barry of PetroChem Wire in Houston said North American PP makers are expected to keep operating rates low, in line with demand forecasts, into 2024. Potential PP capacity additions for 2024 include more than 500 million pounds of additional production form Formosa Plastics Corp. USA in Point Comfort, Texas.  PS, PET flat April prices were flat in North America for polystyrene and PET bottle resin. A slight increase in price for PS feedstock benzene in April wasn't enough to move PS prices, which had been up 5 cents in March after moving up 4 cents in February. Prior to those two increases, PS prices had dropped for three straight months, with those declines totaling 9 cents. The 5-cent March hike followed a price increase for benzene, which surged almost 13 percent to $4.10 per gallon in March, an increase of 46 cents. Regional PET bottle resin prices were flat in April after ticking up 2 cents in March. Prices for the material also had moved up 3 cents in February. The March increase was more connected to higher prices for feedstocks such as paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid (PTA), one source said. Seasonal demand also played a factor in the March PET price hike, as retailers prepare for higher beverage sales during warmer summer months. Sales of bottled water, the largest beverage segment in the U.S. and a major consumer of PET, continues to grow but has slowed in recent years. In feedstocks, regional prices for crude oil and natural gas moved in different directions in April. West Texas Intermediate oil prices opened the month at $83.20, but dipped almost 2 percent to $81.90 by the end of the month. From that point, prices have ticked down almost 5 percent more to $78.10 in early trading May 23. Markets for natural gas — a feedstock to make PE and PVC — have seen recent surges as warmer temperatures increase demand for electricity used in air conditioning. Prices for the material started April at $1.76 per million British thermal units but jumped 13 percent to $1.99 by the end of the month. From that point, prices have continued to soar, closing at $2.84 on May 22, up 43 percent for the month to that point. Domestic demand remains fairly good and exports are very strong,. Domestic inventories aren't short, but they're at a relatively low level, mainly due to exports.  * source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/turbulance-resin-prices-sees-some-rise-others-fall 
이명규 기자 2024-05-25
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 China launches anti-dumping probe on acetal resins    Port of Houston A shipping container at the Port of Houston.   Acetal copolymer resins imported from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Taiwan are the target of an anti-dumping probe from China's commerce ministry. The probe was launched May 19, according to a report from the Reuters news agency. The ministry said the investigation should be completed in a year, but could be extended for six months, the report said. A spokesperson for the European Commission, which oversees European Union trade policy, told Reuters it "would carefully study" the contents of the investigation before deciding on any next steps. News of the Chinese probe came less than a week after the U.S. announced tariff increases on Chinese electric vehicles, computer chips, medical products and other imports. On May 17, the EU also launched a trade investigation into Chinese tinplate steel. The list of tariffs from President Joe Biden's administration covers some medical products that are key users of plastics. The White House said that tariff rates for syringes and needles will increase from 0 to 50 percent in 2024. Some personal protective equipment, such as masks and respirators, will see tariff rates growing from a range of 0 to 7.5 percent up to 25 percent. Tariffs for medical and surgical gloves will rise to 25 percent in 2026 from 7.5 percent. "These tariff rate increases will help support and sustain a strong domestic industrial base for medical supplies that were essential to the COVID-19 pandemic response and continue to be used daily in every hospital across the country, the White House said. Imported plastic syringes also have been the focus of recent scrutiny. In the May 16 alert, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned health car providers not to use syringes from four China-based manufacturers "unless use of these syringes is absolutely necessary," and to transition to syringes that are not manufactured in China.  * Source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/report-china-launches-anti-dumping-probe-acetal-resins 
이명규 기자 2024-05-21
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 PE prices on the rise; buyers ‘very frustrated'      After a contentious battle, North American polyethylene resin prices settled up 3 cents per pound in April. The price hike was hotly debated by producers and buyers, with producers finally being able to make the increase stick. Regional PE prices had been flat for the previous two months and five of the previous six, with the exception of a 5-cent hike that took hold in January. Buyer resistance to the April hike could mean that the increase will be a short-lived one, with prices dropping a similar amount in May or June, market sources told Plastics News. Some suppliers also have a 3-cent increase on the table for May. "I'm still in discussions with some of my [resin] suppliers, but I think ultimately the 3 is likely to stick," a PE buyer in the Southeast U.S. said. "Most suppliers have said the [April] increase could have — or should have — happened in February or March. The fact that the market began to soften in April is where the dispute [on the increase] is coming into play a bit." Market analyst Mike Burns said regional PE buyers "are very frustrated" with the April increase. "There's nothing out there to justify it," added Burns, who is with Plastic Resin Market Advisors. "There's no driver based on cost and the market is oversupplied. And some buyers still think the January increase was a gift to suppliers." The only potential reasoning behind the April hike was that U.S./Canadian PE sales for the month were the highest in two years, according to the American Chemistry Council. But PE inventories in the region remained relatively high in spite of the sales boost. "Domestic demand remains fairly good and exports are very strong," a PE buyer in the Midwest U.S. said. "Domestic inventories aren't short, but they're at a relatively low level, mainly due to exports. "No one said [PE makers] deserved it, but when they all dig in, they can make it happen." Exports of PE resin from the U.S. and Canada reached an all-time high of 45 percent of total production in 2023. The export rate is slightly higher than that record level so far in 2024. A considerable amount of PE capacity added in the last 10 years because of low-priced shale gas and oil has been intended for export markets. By comparison, exports accounted for 23-28 percent of North American PE production in 2015-18 and 33-39 percent of that amount in 2019-22.  * Source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/resin-pricing/pe-prices-rise-buyers-very-frustrated  
이명규 기자 2024-05-21
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 Machinery shipment values drop 24% in first quarter       The double-digit decline in North American plastics machinery shipment values continued into 2024 for injection molding and extrusion equipment. Initial estimates for the first quarter indicate a shipment value of $261.9 million, which is a 24.8 percent drop from the previous quarter and a 24.2 percent decrease from the prior year. The figures, released May 20 by the Plastics Industry Association's Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES), are the latest in a "bad" string, according to Plastics News Economic Editor Bill Wood. "I look at the trend in output of plastics products and the trend in the capacity utilization rate for the plastics industry. Both of those were bad," Wood said in a phone interview. "This is a tough environment to try to sell machinery." High interest rates and geopolitical uncertainty continue to challenge plastics processors, and a new factor could be coming into play: criticism of plastics from shopping bags to bottles, containers and potable pipes. "I really think this campaign against plastics is having a short-term effect," Wood said. "I think that it'll eventually turn around. You can't have a circular economy without plastic as the primary material, but it's having some impact right now while high interest rates have curtailed demand for some products like appliances and automobiles." The CES reports that injection molding shipments fell by 33.8 percent between quarters while the year-over-year decline was 24.9 percent. Single-screw extrusion saw the biggest decrease, 47.7 percent in quarter-over-quarter comparisons and a 23.4 percent decrease year-over-year. For twin-screw extrusion, shipment values fell 7 percent from quarter to quarter and 17 percent from year to year. Lower shipment values are common in the first quarter, Perc Pineda, chief economist at the Plastics Industry Association, a Washington-based trade group. "Long-term data confirms this consistent pattern. Accounting for such seasonality, shipments decreased by 8.5 percent quarter-over-quarter," Pineda said in a news release. "This time, plastics machinery suppliers reacted in alignment with the overall pullback in the macroeconomy and a still high-interest-rate environment." Wood agrees seasonality effects first quarter shipment values, but he said adjusting for it is massaging the numbers. "The output of plastics is really only at the level it was in 2017. That's seven years ago. That's how much product total is being manufactured," Wood said. "You just don't need a lot of new machines with the industries not really going up."  Looking up Still, economic outlooks seem to be going up. The results of the latest CES quarterly survey indicate 74.4 percent of participants expect steady or improved market conditions over the next 12 months. In addition, 48.9 percent of participants indicated an increase in quoting activity compared with 17.1 percent of participants in the previous survey. "That's good to see and maybe things will be better with NPE orders," Wood said. "There has traditionally been an NPE effect on the data. I'm very interested to see that." Wood said he is hesitant to predict what that effect could be, however. "We haven't had an NPE for six years and that relationship was changing anyway from the old days," Wood said. "Certainly, you would think that when companies put a lot of effort into marketing products, they get some return on that investment. NPE is a giant marketing opportunity so you would expect a positive impact but I'm not going to predict." While economic data shows consumers have jobs and money, Wood asks, "Are they choosing to spend it? Are they going to choose to spend it on plastics products?" Another big question mark for Wood is the election between incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who also is facing a myriad of criminal charges. "The last time we had an election, some Americans stormed the capital. That had never happened. I have no idea what's going to happen this time," he said.  Exports down As for the destinations of newly built machines, U.S. total exports of plastics equipment fell by 7.4 percent in Q1 2024 while imports are up 7 percent from the previous quarter. Mexico and Canada remain the top export markets, accounting for $191.4 million in exports, which represents 47.9 percent of total U.S. plastics machinery exports globally. "While still strong, the U.S. economy is poised for another year of growth, albeit at a slightly lower rate. However, growth in housing is hampered by higher borrowing costs, which also applies to higher capital expenditure financing in the business sector, including equipment investment in plastics manufacturing," Pineda said. "Manufacturing holds significant potential for growth, currently hindered by prolonged inventory adjustments and the rebalancing of consumption between goods and services." The market has been tough for a while. North American plastics machinery shipment values plummeted in 2023 compared with 2022 for injection molding and extrusion equipment. The values dropped not only in 2023's first quarter, which is typical, but barely budged the rest of the year and there was no fourth-quarter bump. The fourth-quarter 2023 figure of $348.1 million reflected a 19.5 percent decline compared with the same period in 2022, according to the CES.  * Source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/machinery-shipment-values-drop-24-first-quarter  
이명규 기자 2024-05-21
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An ‘enormous' push to find PFAS replacements in manufacturingSteve TolokenLiz Harriman from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, left, Bianca Hydutsky of Chemours and Jay West of the American Chemistry Council take part in an Oct. 18 panel at an SPE conference on PFAS,As scrutiny of fluorinated PFAS compounds increases, plastics companies using them as aids in manufacturing or as additives like flame retardants say pressure is rapidly growing to phase them out."I'd say in the last six months there's been an enormous change," said Mike Goode, chief commercial officer for FRX Polymers Inc., a Chelmsford, Mass., maker of flame retardants, addressing a recent industry conference. "They're all looking at replacing it … and that's because certain really well-known brand owners are asking for it."Goode, whose company makes non-PFAS replacement products, named electronics maker Apple, e-commerce giant Amazon and energy management firm Schneider Electric, although he said Schneider may be more exploratory than the others.Goode and others at an Oct. 18-19 Society of Plastics Engineers conference, Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Plastics Industry, cautioned that the scientific and performance questions are complex, with drop-in replacements sometimes hard to find.But scrutiny is growing, including in the packaging market."I don't know how many brands are here [at the conference] but the few that I know, that I've worked with, they have already made up their minds for packaging — they told us to change," said Roberto Nunez, director of market development at Baerlocher USA, a unit of the German additive maker. "They told that to film companies, to suppliers. You have no choice. The only question is how or what cost."Nunez gave a presentation at the conference on PFAS-free polymer processing aids that Baerlocher had developed, where he also discussed market trends.Fluorinated PPAs are used in manufacturing of blown film, wire and cable, and pipe to help molten polymers flow quickly against metal dies and molds, and they perform well, he said."The bottom line is these fluoropolymers, for these applications for packaging, perform wonderfully," Nunez said. "It's not easy to replace them. We have to have the performance."NunezEvaluating replacementsThe conference, held over two days in Baltimore, included speakers from the Environmental Protection Agency discussing EPA's far-reaching regulatory agenda around PFAS, such as proposing new standards for drinking water and regulations limiting PFAS discharges from chemical and plastics plants.The 2022 federal infrastructure law included $10 billion for grants for drinking water cleanup. As well, earlier this year, DuPont, Chemours, Corteva and 3M agreed to pay more than $11 billion to settle water contamination lawsuits.PFAS chemicals are widely used in consumer products, including as nonstick coatings on pots and pans and to make stain- or water-resistant additives for carpets and clothing, as well as in firefighting foams and as manufacturing aids and flame retardants.The conference sessions were peppered with questions about evaluating the performance and cost of PFAS replacements in manufacturing operations, but it also included a warning about societal costs, from an academic center working on PFAS alternatives."We're also spending billions and billions of dollars trying to clean up water supplies, and that doesn't even begin to clean up the soil," said Liz Harriman, deputy director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. "Every single day we add more fluorinated compounds to our environment, to our drinking water, to our built environment, and so we want to slow and eventually stop that kind of contribution."There are places today where fluorinated chemicals are needed, speakers said, pointing to their key role in making products vital to national competitiveness and green technologies, including in computer chips and in batteries for electric vehicles."We're seeing people right now looking at where to invest," said Bianca Hydutsky, global technology director for advanced performance materials for Chemours. "If the U.S. wants to have less dependence on foreign chips or materials for the EV industry, we need to understand how to do that."Still, Harriman urged the industry to work on nonfluorinated replacement chemicals in key industries, like finding polyvinylidene fluoride alternatives in batteries."There's a lot of talent, not just in this room but in the whole plastics supply chain," Hydutsky said. "I would be willing to bet we could come up with ways of producing energy storage that doesn't necessarily need PVDF, that we could come up with clean energy systems that don't need fluorinated refrigerants. It's not going to happen overnight."As well, speakers from the American Chemistry Council and companies argued that regulators should distinguish between much-needed fluoropolymers, which are inert and don't break down, and the PFAS compounds like PFOA and PFOS that have been targeted for strict drinking water and environmental limits.GoodeRegrettable substitutionsGoode, from FRX Polymers, said the companies they sell products to are worried about the potential health impacts of replacements."This phrase we've heard a lot of times: regrettable substitution. They're all so scared of making that mistake," Goode said, noting that some chemicals that could be replacement flame retardants have drawn questions from European regulators about whether they're endocrine disrupters.A speaker from medical device maker Boston Scientific appealed to the plastics engineering community to work with them on finding fluoropolymer replacements, even if that could be very difficult in some cases."From an alternatives perspective, there is no silver bullet; we can't just pick another polymer and throw it in there," said Gene Storbeck, a process development engineer who discussed the company's use of fluoropolymers in catheter tubing and devices for use inside the body.Still, he said Boston Scientific wants to find alternatives: "We want to challenge the fluoropolymer status quo," he said.With all the push for replacements among processing aids, Nunez told the conference it's an opportunity for an image-challenged plastics industry to help address public concerns over use of PFAS, or forever chemicals."Just to be clear, I love plastic, and not just because I'm a chemist but because of the value it brings to society, but we're in trouble," he said, adding that he thought finding more sustainable replacements could be an opportunity for the industry."I think it's also important for the image of the plastics industry to be able to say, in this circumstance, we can do it," Nunez said.* source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/enormous-push-find-pfas-replacements-manufacturing
editor 2023-11-05
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Thailand’s GDP is expected to grow by 3.9% in 2023, according to the World Bank’s latest forecast, supported by stronger consumption, a recovery in the tourism sector, and strong pent-up demand following China's reopening. The World Bank projects economic growth of 3.6% in 2024.Export is an influential driver of Thailand’s growth. The forecast of the Thai National Shippers’ Council shows that the country’s exports may drop by 5-6% in the first half of the year before picking up in the second, but are expected to increase slightly by 1% in 2023.  The council also predicted that, benefiting from the Chinese economy and low base effect, the exports would improve in some sectors, such as electronics, automotive and agriculture.Although the global demand for Thai products has been affected by the trade tensions between major economies, the weak baht has helped boost the competitiveness of Thai exporters in some markets, the council added.Auto exports surged 43% in AprilThailand’s automotive industry has seen a remarkable recovery, thanks to the post-pandemic economic recovery, further improved semiconductor supply, and previous year’s low base. It is expected to continue growing in the coming months. The Thai automotive industry switched its primary focus to export market and since 2007, sales to overseas markets have steadily increased.According to the latest data from the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), Thailand exported 79,940 finished cars in April, up 43.53% from the same month last year. The export value reached 50.16 billion baht, representing an increase of 49.83% year-on-year. Exports in the first four months increased 18.3% year-on-year.On the other hand, the domestic market remained slow, as auto sales dropped 6.14% YoY to 59,530 units in April, following an 8.37% decline in March. It was because of the tighter credit conditions for pickup truck buyers, as well as the ongoing pandemic impacts that has dampened consumer spending, according to the FTI.Other potential risks for the Thai automotive industry include rising cost of raw materials, fluctuation of exchange rates, and the uncertainties in the post-pandemic era.Poised to become EV production base in ASEANIn line with the global trend, the Thai government is accelerating the development of the EV industry under its ‘30@30’ policy in order to promote Thailand as an EV production base for the ASEAN region.The National EV Policy Committee published the ‘30@30’ policy in May, 2021. The policy aims to ensure that at least 30% of new vehicles will be zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) – battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) – by 2030.To support this, the government cut the annual road tax for new EVs, and it is encouraging public and private sectors to expand access to EV charging stations. Data from The Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT) show that there were 1,239 charging stations in the Thailand in December, 2022.In addition, import duties on fully assembled BEVs have been cut to 40% for carmakers participating in the government’s BEV promotion scheme.Demand for sustainable packaging would increaseAccording to a report of Mordor Intelligence, the Thai packaging market has consistently grown over the past 10 years and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 8.65% over 2022 to 2027. The country’s economic expansion has led to a steady rise in both the production and consumption of packaging goods throughout time.The report says the consumption of non-recyclable plastic packaging is on the rise in Thailand. As a result, the demand for environmentally friendly packaging materials, such as paper and board, rPET, and bioplastic, would increase.Besides, the growth of the e-commerce and delivery industries has led to an increase in demand for packaging, not least flexible packaging. The TPBI, Thailand's leading packaging company, claimed that the company's sales of plastic bags and e-commerce packaging have increased since March 2020.The PE market in the country is expanding as a result of this tendency, and the demand for PE resin for packaging is expected to soar throughout the next years.The Thailand Plastics Industry Association (TPIA) also remarks that there is a growing market for plastic packaging in Thailand. Notably, the market growth is driven by the food and beverage industry that generates one-fourth of the country’s GDP.Due to expanding economy and evolving lifestyles, frozen food is now experiencing a rise in demand in Thailand, which in turn supports the growing demand for durable high sealing performance packaging.Potential medical sector for foreign investorsThe Ministry of Public Health’s 2016–2025 Strategic Plan reaffirms the position of the medical sector as a top priority for investment and growth in Thailand. Favorable regulations and incentives from the government and the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) also play a key role in attracting international medical and healthcare enterprises to invest.With a well-established infrastructure already in place, Thailand has developed into a medical center for the ASEAN region. In Thailand, there are more than 1,000 governmental hospitals and 300 private hospitals. Government spending on healthcare has quickly increased, from less than 50% in 1995 to almost 80% recently.It is noteworthy that Thailand’s aging population will increase the demand for medical services in the next years. The proportion of people over 60 in the country is one of the highest in the ASEAN region. Additionally, Thailand is a medical tourism hub in Asia, with a rapidly rising number of foreign patientsChina tops Thailand’s FDIChina has become the leading source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Thailand, especially in the high-tech industries including EVs, smart electronics, and medical devices.According to the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), China accounted for 23.68% of the total FDI of 14.76 billion baht in Thai industrial estates in February, followed by Singapore (12.41%), Japan (11.65%), and India (6.39%).China’s investment in Thailand has increased sharply under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The cooperation agreements signed between the two countries at the APEC 2022 further boosted Chinese investment in Thailand under the BRI and Thailand 4.0 policy.The IEAT expects more Chinese factories to be built in Thailand this year, as China lifted its travel restrictions and the IEAT offered incentives for target industries, reports Thailand Business News.Thailand 4.0 is an economic model that aims to unlock the country from several economic challenges. One of its main objectives is to create a value-based economy that is driven by innovation, technology and creativity. Environmental protection is also a key focus, looking to adopt an economic system capable of adjusting to climate change and low carbon society.source : https://www.adsalecprj.com/web/news/article_details?id=62415&lang=1edit : handler
Editor 2023-07-12
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Continental prepared for future of ADASAUBURN HILLS, Mich.—For Continental A.G., advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are nothing new.The company, whose autonomous mobility segment is based largely at its research and development center in Auburn Hills, has been working on ADAS systems since 1996.In more recent years, the focus has been on a full-stack system supplier solution, according to Vinh Tran, Conti's head of business area autonomous mobility for North America.Full stack includes three pillars—the system and the software; the ecosystem; and the component business, he said."What we try to do with a full-stack solution is to really make a scalable architecture."Continental aims to have those full stack solutions in each level of ADAS, one through five, from entry-level awareness systems to fully autonomous driving, Tran said.The focus now is on supporting functions such as lane-departure warnings, traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot detection—features that drivers know are there and working. When drivers are aware of ADAS systems, "they can slowly learn to accept the system," Tran said.As those systems evolve into more autonomous driving, drivers already will be accustomed to trusting ADAS, which will help them trust their vehicle to navigate during difficult situations, he said."It's a combination of trust as well as acceptance," Tran said.Drivers need to learn to trust systems like radar and Lidar, he said, as well as they trust their own eyes.Market leaderContinental has numerous systems and software functions on the market and is a market leader to many original equipment manufacturers, Tran said.The company's portfolio includes technology that uses radar and cameras including lane-departure systems, blind-spot detection, traffic-sign assists, rear cross traffic—a feature that uses short-range radar to determine if something or someone is near the vehicle and could create a collision—as well as traffic-jam assist, which uses cameras and radar to help ensure safety in a traffic-jam situation, he said.It's been a growing area for the company. Conti has been able to adapt its technology to changes."The architecture is getting more and more complex. And with that, also the components and the system and the software as well," Tran said.The company's autonomous mobility segment is headquartered in Auburn Hills, but the business also has teams in Mexico and Santa Barbara, Calif., the latter focused on developing Lidar systems through a partnership with technology company AEye Inc.Last year, Continental budgeted approximately $110 million for plant in New Braunfels, Texas, focused on ADAS components. The plant, which is expected to begin production later this year, will first focus on short-range radar products and eventually on camera products, Tran said.The focus on ADAS also ties into Conti's Vision Zero strategy—a future with zero fatalities, zero crashes and zero injuries on the road."In the end, our strategy in North America has been to be able to provide this solution to help create the autonomous mobility space," which will in turn reduce crashes, Tran said."It's a great vision and I think we're headed toward that. I think the market, and the entire market, is working towards that. As the technology evolves and evolves, I think that opportunity is increasing every day."source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/automotive/continental-prepared-future-adasedit : handler
Editor 2022-07-22