The silicones industry has gotten used to upheaval, and the Covid-19 pandemic is just the latest. That was the focus of the presentation by Senior Freedonia Group analyst Kent Furst at the International Silicone Conference on November 9.
Silicones are a unique material (literally “rubber made from glass”) and a tight-knit industry, which has seen healthy growth in all sorts of applications over the last two decades. But recent years have been a challenge. In 2018, plant shutdowns in China coupled with strong demand led to price spikes and supply shortages, resulting in companies scrambling to fill orders. The very next year, however, the supply and demand balance shifted, and prices fell back to earth.
So when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the silicones industry had to be flexible and proactive yet again. The recession brought on by the pandemic devastated some key markets for silicones, such as motor vehicles and personal care products. But some companies were able to shift gears to take advantage of new opportunities in personal protective equipment and medical devices such as ventilators, where silicone materials are widely used.
The second half of 2020 brought some relief to the silicones market, thanks to improving economic conditions. However, this may be in jeopardy as the rapid rise in new Covid-19 cases in the US and Europe is likely to bring economic growth to a halt. The silicones industry might have even more new challenges to face in the coming months.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Global Silicones and Liquid Silicone Rubber. Freedonia also offers an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the current crisis with a comparison to recent recessions, including one for Global Silicones and one for US Liquid Silicone Rubber. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.