The value of exports was up but global demand for chemicals has weakened and commodity prices have declined
Exports of petrochemicals from GCC states rose approximately 23 per cent in 2014 to $67.2 billion compared with the previous year, according to the latest industry report of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA).
The 2014 export figure rose from $54.6 billion in 2013 and was more than double the figure of a decade ago.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the largest chemical exporters, together responsible for generating nearly three-fourths of total GCC chemical exports by volume. In 2014, Saudi Arabia accounted for 53 per cent of the total regional export measured by volume or 35.9 million tonnes valued at $36.2 billion. Qatar accounted for 20 per cent of the volume, valued at $10.6 billion. The UAE doubled its export share since 2010, reaching 10 per cent of the total regional export in 2014. This equals 6.6 million tonnes valued at $6.4 billion. Kuwait and Oman are each responsible for 7 per cent of total export volume and Bahrain accounts for 3 per cent.
“Petrochemical producers in the Arabian Gulf manufacture products for diverse sectors and markets around the world, earning GCC economies valuable returns,” said Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA. “Chemical producers from the Arabian Gulf region ship their products to approximately 170 countries. Asia, and in particular, China, being the most important export market.”
The GCC chemical industry registered a very solid recovery since 2010 with chemical exports by volume 77 per cent higher in 2014 than before the global economic and financial crisis of 2008. However, though the GCC chemical trade quickly recovered from the effects of the global crisis, it has grown only modestly since 2012. GPCA said the slower than usual growth can be attributed to weaker global demand and the decline in commodity prices. The effect has partly been offset by growth in chemical production, which demonstrated a 4 per cent annual growth during the same period.