SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — A very positive 2000, when resin consumption increased 10.6 percent, is driving Brazilian plastics industry analysts to look at 2001 in the same light.
According to the national molders' association Abiplast, the plastics industry will grow at least 8 percent this year and will maintain that rate of growth until 2008.
A recent study sponsored by Sao Paulo-based Abiplast and other industry organizations indicates that processors plan to invest US$9.7 billion in the next eight years — $4.1 billion toward increasing capacity, $1.2 billion in machinery replacements, $2.9 billion in new tools and $1.5 billion in infrastructure.
In the resin field, 2000 ended a three-year cycle of investment of almost $2 billion, which increased annual capacity to roughly 11 billion pounds.
Resin production in 2000 totaled 8.52 billion pounds, compared to 7.77 billion pounds for the year before.
Brazil's thermoplastic suppliers plan to export about 1.7 billion pounds of resin in 2001, said Jean Daniel Peter, president of Siresp, the trade association of resin producers of the state of Sao Paulo.
Peter, as well as Abiplast's officials, still point out Brazil's high interest rates and an excessive tax load as the main obstacles in competing in both the domestic and export markets.
"In spite of all adversity, we are seeming to do all right. Brazil's economy follows the `beetle theory' — it has everything to not fly but does nonetheless," said Ronald Caputo, assistant to Abiplast's president.
The automotive sector also predicts a positive 2001.
In 2000, the car industry recovered some of the losses accumulated in 1999, ending the year with about 1.66 million units produced vs. 1.35 million in 1999.
According to the National Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, or Anfavea, Brazil will manufacture 1.84 million automobiles in 2001.
"If the current pace continues, in 2002 we should equal the production levels reached in 1997," said Anfavea President Jose Carlos da Silveira Pinheiro Neto.
The year 1997 was a record year for the automotive industry in Brazil, with 2.07 million units produced.