INDIANAPOLIS - Driven by explosive growth in the Far East, consumption of engineering resins should hit 21 billion pounds by the year 2000, from 17 billion pounds in 1995, a top Bayer Corp. official said during ANTEC. ``What is accelerating at a very rapid pace is the globalization of markets and major accounts. All major [original equipment manufacturers] are positioning themselves all over the world,'' said Peter Mueller, senior vice president for plastics marketing at Bayer Corp. of Pittsburgh, a unit of Bayer AG of Leverkusen, Germany.
``Almost 3 billion people live in Asia, and the per-capita income is doubling every five years,'' Mueller said. ``We will very soon have over 200 million new middle-class consumers in the Far East area.''
Mueller said engineering resins in the Far East should grow nearly 18 percent a year - more than twice the rate of general economic growth in the region.
Engineering resin growth will be less dramatic in the United States and Europe, but still will exceed the general economy.
The Far East also may be on the verge of passing the United States and Europe as a consumer of engineering resins. From 1984 through 1995, the United States consumed 27 percent of the world's engineering plastics, and Europe consumed 25 percent. The Far East accounted for 22 percent of engineering resins during the period, Mueller said.
In Japan, recent economic problems have slowed demand for engineering resins to about the same rate as the general economy, Mueller said. Japan accounts for 15 percent of the global consumption of engineering resins, he said.
Mueller said polycarbonate should continue to grow about 9 percent a year. But that number could go higher if PC succeeds as a glazing for auto windows.