MDI-PU Trends in Western and Eastern Europe

MDI based polyurethane has its usage spread over a wide range of end industries from Automobile, Building & Construction, Packaging to Footwear and Sports Goods and Furniture and Mattresses. The overall demand for MDI-PU in Western and Eastern Europe has been on the trajectory of positive growth in recent years. In the second half of the year 2019, there was a downtrend in the prices of MDI which further boosted the demand in a few of the industries. Building and construction sector accounted for the highest share of the total consumption of MDI-PU.

In Europe, the supply of MDI-PU was stable and consistent for the most part of the year 2019. Trends such as the conversion of Covestro TDI plant into MDI kept MDI oversupplied in the first quarter of the year.

The demand for MDI-PU varied for different applications. The automotive sector’s negative growth rate trend in passenger vehicles led to decreased demand in 2019 compared to 2018. In the Building and Construction sector, the increased construction output in the first three quarters resulted in increased demand. It was mostly supported by increased renovations and demand in wood and metal composite panels. The requirement of protective foam packaging for brittle and delicate materials kept MDI-PU in the Packaging sector. For Footwear & Sports Good industry, up-surging focus on the premium footwear and sports goods is increasing the demands of MDI-PU flexible foam. The market growth was observed to be quite sluggish from the industry but record low prices of MDI driven the demand in MDI-PU flexible foams.

Among the competing materials of MDI-PU for different applications, mineral wool was seen to be giving stiff competition to MDI-PU in the building and construction segment owing to increased adoption in energy-efficient construction solutions.

There was a decrease in the price of MDI-PU for the most part of the year. This has also boosted the demand for MDI-PU in several sectors such as packaging, footwear, and sports goods. Last quarter saw record low prices of MDI-PU.  

In the coming time, the Automotive and Construction sectors seem to be the most important sector in deciding the overall demand for MDI-PU. In the case of the automotive industry, the production volume of passenger vehicles will be the main factor to look into while in Building and Construction sector, it will be interesting to see how MDI-PU can cope up with its competing materials.  

Author:
Abhishek Srivastava, Associate Consultant

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