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19 Dec 2022

Econ Digest

Sales of eco-friendly plastics tend to slow in 2023.Thailand may not fully benefit from the trend of reducing global warming


        Plastic pellets are one of the key Thai export products, and despite the slowdown in demand, their exports are expected to grow by 1.2% in 2022, partly due to rising prices following those of the fossil fuel raw material. In 2023, the export value of plastic pellets may shrink by more than 2.5% due to the highly uncertain global economy and potentially falling prices. In addition, the Thai plastic pallet industry that relies on exports of fossil fuel based plastic pallets for more than 96% of its total exports, could face more pressure from actions intended to reduce global warming and changes in environmental regulations by trading partners. Thai manufacturers may not fully benefit from the growth in demand for eco-friendly plastic pallets as Thailand’s transition to eco-friendly plastic pellets (recycled plastics and bioplastics) remains slower than that of the global market and the challenge of tight supply of eco-friendly plastic pallets. In the medium to long-term, Thai manufacturers of eco-friendly plastic pellets will face the challenge of intense competition, especially from China, which has accelerated investment in eco-friendly plastic pellet production with the support of the Chinese government’s policy.

        KResearch views that with the support of the government’s permission to use food-grade recycled plastic in Thailand since June 2022, Thai manufacturers of eco-friendly plastic pellets, especially recycled plastics, will increasingly turn to the domestic food-grade plastic market, which was previously exported abroad, especially to the EU. In 2023, sales of Thai recycled plastic pallets (both domestic and export) should grow by 1.9%, a slight slowdown from the 1.94% expected in 2022, driven by an acceleration of 2.3% growth in the domestic market, which is contrary to a 1.6% contraction in export value. Meanwhile, sales of Thai bio-plastic pallets should grow by 1.8%, slowing from the expected 3.5% growth in 2022, with sales in domestic and export markets slowing to merely 1.7% and 1.8% respectively.

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Econ Digest