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The coronavirus epidemic will likely to hit both the Chinese and global plastics industries’ market outlook.
The coronavirus epidemic will likely to hit both the Chinese and global plastics industries’ market outlook.

The coronavirus outbreak has sparked economic volatility in recent weeks. While broader effect is still hard to gauge, the epidemic will likely to hit both the Chinese and global plastics industries’ market outlook.

How will coronavirus epidemic affect the plastics industry? CPRJ asked the opinions of some key industry players.

Yizumi: It will take some time to recover

James Zhang, GM of Yizumi IMM Division and Director & DGM, Yizumi Group (伊之密), commented: “The industry's recovery was very obvious in the second half of 2019. However, the recent coronavirus outbreak has brought uncertainties.”

He believes that the plastics industry will need some time to recover after the epidemic. The driving force for economic development will mainly come from two areas.

James Zhang, GM of Yizumi IMM Division and Director & DGM, Yizumi Group.

Firstly, the Chinese economy will continue to develop and upgrade rapidly, which will create continuous demand for plastic machinery. As the trends of 5G, advanced medical treatments, circular economy and sustainable packaging are emerging, existing machinery and equipment have to be replaced.

Meanwhile, the development of technologies such as automation, digitalization and smart manufacturing, energy-saving and lightweighting, and multi-material molding, will boost efficient and sustainable production.

Secondly, globalization will bring new opportunities. Chinese enterprises will further expand in overseas markets by establishing production facilities and sales networks.

ENGEL: Chinese economy will regain momentum

According to the analysis of Gero Willmeroth, president for East Asia and Oceania at ENGEL, the market slowdown in 2019 was mainly driven by the downturn of the automotive industry, and other industries like medical and packaging were not that impacted.

“The outbreak of coronavirus outbreak will have an impact in two ways. Firstly, customer confidence for consumption will be dropped as health issue is the main focus now. Secondly, the production output is reduced due to workers cannot resume work and the supply chain has interruptions,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Gero Willmeroth is confident that the people of China have the strength and ability to overcome difficulties, and the Chinese economy will regain momentum before the end of 2020.

FCS: Investment to increase after the epidemic is over

“If the epidemic can be controlled before the end of February, the industry will have the opportunity to grow steadily in the first half of the year. If not, the first half of the year is expected to decline,” commented Jerry Wang, Chairman of Fu Chun Shin (Ningbo) Machinery Manufacture Co., Ltd. (富强鑫(宁波)).
Jerry Wang, Chairman of Fu Chun Shin (Ningbo) Machinery Manufacture Co., Ltd.
From another perspective, after the epidemic is over, there should be a wave of development, the investment will increase in the short term because the previous plans were backlogged and delayed, he remarked.

WITTMANN BATTENFELD: Resume operation and adjust market strategy

To Terry Liu, General Manager, WITTMANN BATTENFELD (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., the situation of the epidemic now cannot be underestimated, and the company is trying to find ways to deal with it proactively.

“The most important thing is to resume operation first, and then adjust the market strategy after the epidemic by reinvestigating the needs of customers, promoting appropriate machines and implementing proper sales strategies,” he said.

JCTIMES: “Waking up” the Chinese manufacturers 

President of JCTIMES (精誠), Liang Bin, told CPRJ that this epidemic has given the Chinese manufacturing enterprises more vigilance and understanding to the current situation of the industry. 

President of JCTIMES (精誠), Liang Bin.

Prior to this epidemic, the Chinese economy was more focused on rapid development, he explained, this sudden incident may trigger an economic slowdown or recession in advance, generally “waking up” the enterprises to return to solid developments such as improving quality, service and management.

Demag: The market will show a significant increase thereafter

Pietro Scattarreggia, the Managing Director of Demag Plastics Machinery (Ningbo) Co., Ltd. also agreed that the plastics machinery market started to recover in the last quarter of 2019.

“The current situation very likely will decelerate the project activities, not only in the plastic industry, but also other industries will be affected,” he said.

However, he is still optimistic about the future. “We are confident that after the outbreak will be under control and solved, the overall economy and also the plastics machinery market will show a significant increase.”

“Even we all are facing a tough situation in the last days and very probable also in the next two weeks, we will overcome this situation with common efforts very soon,” Pietro Scattarreggia emphasized.


INEOS Styrolution: The demands are not reduced, just suppressed

Jary Liao, Regional Industry Lead, Packaging at INEOS Styrolution Polymers (Shanghai) Co Ltd., also expects the plastics industry to rebound after the coronavirus outbreak.

“In fact, the markets in January actually showed signs of recovery or even relative growth, such as the automotive and home appliances. This epidemic was not expected,” he mentioned.

“I expect the plastics industry to rebound because the epidemic is just suppressing most of the demands, but not really reducing them,” explained Jary Liao.

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