WELCOME LETTER

Welcome to Latin America Petrochemicals and Chemicals 2021 – the latest edition of the special annual publication produced in collaboration between GBR and APLA. In this report, we discuss how Latin America’s petrochemical and chemical sectors have bounced back in 2021 after a uniquely challenging 2020, as well as covering the key themes, challenges and opportunities currently impacting the industry.

GDP in Latam and the Caribbean contracted by 6.8% in 2020, the biggest decrease of all the regions covered by the IMF. However, average growth estimates are forecast above 5% in 2021, with the chemical and petrochemical industries being key components of this rebound. Demand for hygiene-related products, chemicals for agriculture and non-durable goods such as packaging has remained strong throughout the pandemic, while markets which experienced lower demand in 2020, such as polystyrene and PVC, have rebounded in 2021 due to the reopening of economies.

While surging demand and high commodity prices have seen profits rise for chemical players in 2021, the year has not been without its challenges. A constrained global supply chain has highlighted the importance of establishing greater regional production in Latin America, a situation exacerbated by unprecedented logistics disruptions and a lack of domestic raw material feedstock. Container freight rates have reached all-time highs due to insufficient availability and weather issues have helped create a perfect storm that has no short-term solution.

Perhaps the biggest topic of 2021 has been the acceleration of a global environmental agenda. Sustainability has become the overarching theme touching all facets of the chemical and petrochemical industries, influencing new forms of energy such as green hydrogen, increasing collaboration between industry, government and society towards the path to a circular economy, while at the same time creating a new wave of investment and business opportunities.

Although we will not be able to meet in person this year at APLA’s annual meeting, the virtual format provides an excellent platform for the industry to share knowledge and experience at such a critical moment. It also offers the opportunity for a wide audience to join regardless of geographical location. Moreover, APLA maintains its commitment to generate top-value information to the industry’s stakeholders in Latin America and globally, in partnership with industry report specialists Global Business Reports.

This special publication, containing articles, analysis, country factsheets and first-hand exclusive interviews with important players across the value chain, is presented this year in a digital, interactive and smartphone-friendly version that is accessible on GBR and APLA websites.

We hope you enjoy the read, as well as the sessions and networking opportunities of APLA Virtual.

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