AVK: GRP production decline due to the corona...

GRP production decline due to the corona pandemic


In 2020, due to the corona pandemic, the European glass fiber reinforced plastics (GRP) market is experiencing the sharpest slump since the economic and financial crises of 2008/2009. The Federation of Reinforced Plastics (AKV), Frankfurt/Germany, has published its annual market for GRP. Production volume has fallen by 12.7% to 996,000 tons.

The greatest losses are in the transport sector. Germany remains the largest manufacturer of GRP with 207,000 tons.
For 2019, a worldwide production volume of 10-12 million tons can be assumed for the composites industry. Current data for 2020, that take account of the Covid-19 pandemic, are not yet available to the AVK.
Even in recent years, growth in GRP production volume has been slower in Europe than the world’s other 2 major economic powerhouses – America and Asia.
The 2 main application areas for GRP remain the construction/infrastructure and transport sectors. These 2 sectors are still the major buyers of GRP components, each accounting for around 1/3 of the total production volume.
The reasons for this slower growth, which has been ongoing for several years and is independent of the current pandemic, include the migration of certain manufacturing processes and methods, but also the outsourcing of the production of commodities with often low profit margins.
For the whole composites industry the most important areas of the economy are the transport sector, with the core areas of automotive, public transport, commercial vehicles and aviation, as well as the construction and infrastructure sectors. These 2 main areas together account for almost 70 % of all applications. In addition to other sectors, such as hotel/tourist accommodation, which is one of the most severely affected by the corona pandemic, the transport sector is also particularly affected.
The aviation industry – a key application area and one of the brightest prospects for the future until a few months ago – has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Experts consider it unlikely that the airline sector will return to its previous level, at least in the medium term.
The automotive industry is another of the sectors that has been particularly hard hit, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. In the meantime, however, despite all the uncertainty regarding further developments, the mood has become more optimistic again. Experts see a significant recovery taking place during the current year 2020, or in the coming year 2021. The basic prerequisite for this is, of course, that the situation does not deteriorate further and that markets pick up, especially in China and the USA.

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