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Chinese rubber chemicals industry “deeply affected” by Covid

The rubber chemicals industry was among the sectors most severely impacted by the recent Covid-19 crisis in China, according to a recent report by analyst group Research & Markets.

In a new report published 8 June, the Dublin based market information firm said the high infection rate, city shutdowns, and transportation halts across the nation had a negative impact on the chemical industry.

According to the report, while most of the petrochemical plants operating in the southeast province of Zhejiang had resumed production by the end of February, utilisation rates stood at around 40-70% due to understaffing, and a lack of raw material.

In addition, the weakening demand from end-users, particularly the automotive industry, have caused further slowdown for chemical manufacturers.

According to the report, rubber chemicals were especially hit by the Covid pandemic as they are used for the production of tires and other auto parts including hoses, belts, and gaskets.

As car makers suspended production due to the pandemic, a “steep fall” has been witnessed in tire demand and consequently rubber chemicals, the report noted.

China’s chemical industry was the fifth largest industry in the country in 2018, accounting for 3.5% of the nation's output in 2018 at a value of around €1,300 billion, according to Research & Markets.

The country accounts for about 70% of the total rubber chemical products across the globe and consumes about 33-35% of it, the report added.