SÃO PAULO (Jan. 13, 10:30 a.m. EST) — The two most important partners in the Mercosul trade region, Brazil and Argentina, enter 2003 aiming for better days.
After a turbulent 2002, with a serious financial crisis in Argentina as well as financial and political instability in Brazil, both countries expect to see a positive performance in sales for the plastics industry. Argentina expects a 1.5-2 percent recovery, while Brazil anticipates a minimum 4 percent increase.
“We would be pleased to achieve, again, historical levels of 10 percent growth and we are working to do just that,” said Merheg Cachum, president of the Brazilian Plastics Industry Association, Abiplast.
In conjunction with Brazil's government and the resin sector, Abiplast is developing an export incentive program based on savings obtained from the integration of the plastics production chain, whereby it expects to harvest the first major results in 2003.
The government of Brazil's new President Luís Inacio Lula da Silva also signals toward the implementation of strong policies aimed at social inclusion, which tend to affect packaging consumption positively, Cachum said.
According to the Argentine Chamber for the Plastics Industry, CAIP, business growth in that country's plastics sector also is expected to resume in 2003 through export-related efforts.
“The growth projected for 2003 should occur with the increase in plastic product exports once the positive results due to the strong devaluation in the [peso] take effect,” Oscar Sanchez, CAIP's general manager, said in an e-mail interview.
According to preliminary data, sales of plastics products for Argentina in 2002 should post a 9.7 percent drop in comparison to the previous year, when sales totaled US$2.9 billion.
Resin consumption is expected to have totaled 2.12 billion pounds in 2002 and should grow to 2.17 billion pounds in Argentina in 2003.
In Brazil, sales of plastics products in 2002 should be 4 percent better than in 2001, when sales reached US$9.1 billion.
According to the Synthetic Resin Trade Association in SÃ£o Paulo, resin consumption will increase 6 percent in Brazil in 2003, having ended with a base of roughly 8.6 billion pounds in 2002.