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Chemical exports rise over 15% in 2 years

By PHILEXPORT

Exports of the Philippine chemical industry are expected to increase over 15 percent annually in the next two years, driven by new investments into the sector.

Roberto Batungbacal, president of the Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriyang Kimika (SPIK), said export revenues are seen to rise 23 percent this year compared to the industry’s historical growth of 15 percent.

“This year, there are some plants that started up. By January, a naphtha cracker will also start (commercial operations) while a petrochemical (plant) will be completed in early 2015. So for two years, there will be an incremental jump because of these investments,” he said.

Batungbacal said the opening of a new naphtha cracker is significant, as it brings closer to full integration of the country’s chemical industry.

“We have now different chemical production but are not integrated…The experience of other countries is that once you have a cracker, the production and demand start picking up faster,” he noted.

“If you look at our ASEAN neighbours, once they start integrating, in a matter of 10 years, they were able to grow from below $10 billion to about $20 billion to $50 billion. The ramp up is fast with continued investments,” he added.

Batungbacal, also the country manager of Dow Chemical Pacific Limited, thus stressed the need for the industry players and the government to work together to ensure that crucial chemical plants are successful.

“Make sure that the start-up (plants) are run efficiently and that the markets are able to take products, (that we are) able to export,” he said.

Moreover, Batungbacal expressed hope that the Philippines and global economies would continue expanding as this could result in healthy growth in chemical demand.

“Since we are becoming a bigger exporter, a lot of that will depend on the global demand,” he noted.

Batungbacal said the industry players are gearing up to achieve long-term export revenue targets set in the roadmap for the sector.

Under the roadmap, the chemical sector is aiming to hit $5 billion worth of exports by 2016, $10 billion by 2022 and $30 billion by 2030.

“But it is not only about exports, we have targets for environment, health and safety. We have (also) targets for the number of patents and for the number of new SME (small medium enterprises) going into the sector,” he added. — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features

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