Increased buying power boosts the demand for polyurethane foams in bedding and furniture applications. In addition, polyurethanes' use as a wood and rubber substitute underpins its rising demand in the mining, interior decoration and insulation sectors in Africa. Therefore, the type of application sector to enter depends on how saturated that sector is, and how easy it is to manufacture the specific product.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (chemicals.frost.com), Sub-Saharan African Market for Polyurethane, finds that the market earned revenues of $545.6 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $694.7 million in 2016. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following technologies: TDI and MDI based polyurethane. Among the application areas studied, include bedding and furniture, automotive, refrigerators and freezers, footwear, construction, and coatings, adhesives and sealants.
"The polyurethane market in Sub-Saharan Africa is fast growing as the use of polyurethane for insulation in refrigerator and construction applications increases," notes Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials and Food Research Analyst Dilshaad Booley. "Enhanced consumer buying power as a result of stabilising economies promotes demand for these polyurethane containing products."
The use of polyurethane to replace rubber and as a wood substitute in interior decorating applications is another driver of the sub-Saharan African polyurethane market, which could experience growth exceeding that of the international polyurethane market.
A decline in the construction and automotive sectors resulted in decreased demand for products containing polyurethane. The global economic recession deterred many local customers from purchasing furniture, bedding and footwear products due to reduced buying power.
At the same time, the sharp rise in raw material price during the slowdown affected the price of polyurethane and the applications in which it was used. Consequently, the demand for polyurethane products reduced as fewer people could afford them. Hence, this created an opportunity for low-cost imports to enter the market.
Finished products containing polyurethane are being imported more frequently into sub-Saharan Africa. These products are cheaper than those locally manufactured, resulting in the loss of business for the manufacturers. This is, especially evident in the footwear sector, where China exports footwear containing polyurethane to sub-Saharan Africa.
"Sub-Saharan Africa imports all of its raw materials for polyurethane, leading to local polyurethane manufacturers purchasing these raw materials at higher prices due to fluctuating exchange rates and various import duties," explains Booley. "Therefore, the final product containing polyurethane will be more expensive than if it were to be imported from China."
Nevertheless, projections for polyurethane manufacturers are upbeat. Currently, the number of applications for polyurethane in sub-Saharan Africa is limited. This offers growth opportunities for polyurethane manufacturers to expand their applications in buildings and refrigeration sectors. The growing manufacturing sector promises to make use of polyurethane products, ranging from construction to refrigeration, transport and automotive enhancements.
Sub-Saharan African Market for Polyurethane is part of the Chemicals & Materials Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: South African Engineering Plastics Market, South African Market for Automotive Plastics, Sub-Saharan African Biofuels Market and Key Sub-Saharan African Crop Protection Chemicals Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Sub-Saharan African Market for Polyurethane / M5DF