The global demand for UPR increased by 5% in Q4 2020 from Q3 2020. The transportation, marine, and construction markets started recovering in Q3 2020 and started operation normally in Q4 2020, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Q2 2020. The UPR price on average increased about 4% in the Q4 2020 compared to Q3 2020. Growth in the UPR prices was driven by the increase in raw material prices such as styrene; the price of styrene increased by ~9% in the fourth quarter. The figure below depicts the change in demand and the price of UPR in the past five quarters.
Figure 1: Global Quarterly Change in UPR Shipment and Price Trends
In Q4 2020, the North American UPR market increased as major end use industries including automotive, marine, and pipe reported growth in demand during this period.
The UPR demand in North America increased in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020 as the demand from the construction, and automotive market began to show upward trend. The second quarter of 2020 was the low point of the current crisis. Since then, countries across the world have opened up their economies after lockdown and market conditions have gradually improved during the third quarter of 2020. The automotive and consumer goods industries are still weak, but are now slowly improving, and there are encouraging signs from the construction industry as well.
In Q4 2020, the demand for UPR in Europe increased as compared to Q3 2020; there were increase in demand and normal functioning in production activities of major end use industries. Light commercial vehicle grew by 2% in Q4 2020, compared to Q3 2019, creating a favorable impact to UPR demand.
In Q3 2020, the demand for UPR in the European region increased as compared to Q2 2020. A resumption in production activities and increasing construction and infrastructure contracts backed the growth of Q3 2020. Light vehicle sales grew by more than 75% in Q3 2020, compared to Q2 2020, creating a favorable scenario for UPR demand. Overall core market conditions for all of the businesses are now improving from the lows seen in the second quarter of 2020.
Asian UPR demand increased in Q4 2020, as compared to Q3 2020, supported by growth in the transportation industry and increase in construction activities in this quarter. Electrical & electronics demand was also increased, during the end of Q3, driven by revival in the Chinese market.
In Q3 2020, UPR demand increased compared to Q2 2020, primarily driven by the gradual improvements in the construction and automotive industries. Light vehicle sales increased by 9% in Q3 2020 from Q2 2020. Exports and the construction industry are faring quite well, while consumption lags behind a bit. China’s third quarter 2020 performance shows that the economic recovery from COVID-19 continues, led by strength in various industries driven by robust investment and exports. This is further evidence of China’s economic V-shaped recovery, which provides momentum to the UPR demand.
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