The performance of the chemical industry in 2020 gives an appropriate picture of the past year. Chemical materials used in healthcare, pharma, nutrition and electronics saw a fluctuating demand boost, while personal care, packaging, construction or automotive suffered more acutely due to low economic activity. After an almost 10% revenues dip for the global chemical industry, the sector is expected to bounce back at 10% growth in line with GDP growth projected for 2021. But the consequences of the pandemic stretch further – leaving a mark on consumer behaviors, the structuring of global supply chains, and industrial applications. The biggest task for the industry will be to identify what are temporary, lasting or permanent, accelerating or decelerating changes.
Singapore is at the heart of APAC, the largest market for both specialty chemicals and petrochemicals, and the region that appears to be recovering fastest from the pandemic. The 100 chemical companies of Jurong Island find themselves at an interesting juncture: First, the industry looks to advance up the value chain through downstream investments – especially in those market segments that appear most resilient, including pharma and nutrition. Secondly, more players are distancing from hydrocarbon feedstocks, as well as initiating more transitions to decarbonize themselves and to help decarbonize their partner industries. Thirdly, digital tools and AI enable the transformation of operations and interactions across the value chain from a linear to a more flexible digital framework. All these changes are catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic.GBR’s 2021 edition of Singapore Chemicals provides an in-depth insight into one of the world’s most dynamic and forwards looking chemical sectors at a time of unprecedented change.