The Egyptian petrochemicals industry has benefitted greatly from depreciation and the lack of foreign currency that emerged as the authorities acted to halt the decline of the Egyptian pound. With access to locally available feedstock, petrochemicals producers were able to raise production and serve local demand, even at times of slack demand. This will mark a temporary reprieve and stability is likely to be restored in 2016, alongside market growth. A revival in local consumption and sustained exchange rate weakness would support the planned massive expansion of capacities over the next few years.
While local production is benefitting from a weaker exchange rate and import difficulties, it has not escaped a squeeze on margins as cost pressures have risen. The local market will be sluggish, although depreciation will favour local producers. The automotive sector remains in a slump, which is undermining consumption of a range of rubber and plastic products used in car manufacturing. However, construction activity is holding up and should help spur some growth in segments such as PVC.
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Progress is being made on Carbon Holdings' USD6.8bn Tahrir Petrochemical Project at Ain Sokhna, which will include three PE plants, each designed with capacity of 450,000tpa and fed by a cracker with capacity to produce 1.3mn tpa of ethylene, 600,000tpa of propylene and 210,000tpa of butadiene. Aromatics capacities will include 420,000tpa of benzene and 100,000tpa hexene-1. Carbon Holdings is currently targeting commissioning in 2020.
In 2016, Sidpec is set to expand petrochemicals capacity with 460,000tpa, 20,000tpa butadiene and two 200,000tpa PE lines.
In Q116, negotiations to establish a USD3.5bn petrochemical complex in Ain Sokhna were reportedly underway with completion expected within five years. The complex will be in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
In BMI's Petrochemicals Risk/Reward Index for the Middle East and Africa region, Egypt is in seventh place with a score of 52.5 points. The rapid return of investment in recent quarters has seen the country's upstream rewards scores begin to recover. The increase in its score has enabled it to pull ahead of Turkey in the regional ranking, putting it 1.4 points ahead of South Africa and 4.8 points behind Israel.
The Egypt Petrochemicals Report has been researched at source, and features BMI Research's market assessment and independent forecasts for key petrochemicals sub-sectors. The report also analyses the impact of regulatory changes, recent developments and the background macroeconomic outlook and features competitive landscapes comparing companies by products and services, sales, market share, investments, projects, partners and expansion strategies.
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