Our plastics and polymer industry is probably not aware of the existence the China InterDye, which is one of the leading trade fairs the world over for the dyestuffs, pigments and intermediates industry. Personally, I have been visiting the same for years now, so that we could be in sync with the happenings in the pigment industry and the intermediates supply and pricing situation, and also for the dyestuffs scenario, which is relevant to some of the other verticals we work with.
For someone who has been visiting China InterDye as an annual ritual for a fairly long time now, there is a definite element of "sameness" or deja vu that has existed over the years. Besides the fact that it is, and to its credit, the largest congregation of this industry segment the world over, and that it presents a great networking opportunity to reinforce contacts, there is very little else on offer given the lack of a specific end-user focus. However, the above described fact related to networking and the opportunity to get an insight into the key Chinese chemicals, pigments and dyestuff industry, still makes it a worthwhile attend.
This year that sense of deja vu was disturbed to a significant extent. Not because it contradicted the above thought process, but more due to the findings that one could make and infer at the Show this year.
We all know that the Chinese chemicals industry has been under the cloud of pollution over the last year or so. Beginning with the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics, these stringent strictures have led to closures of many chemical plants, and in some other cases reduced operating capacities and efficiency. The effects of the same had already begun being felt the world over with both the chemicals manufacturing industry being heavily dependent on intermediates and downstream consuming industries dependent on specialty chemicals, including polymers and plastics.
Even as the global chemical industry recovers from this blow, it finds itself confronted with another rude shock in the form of a series of blasts at chemical complexes in China, which have been serious enough to be reported even in the normally secretive Chinese media. These have been accompanied by heavy human casualties and huge losses of capacity. A significant amount of the global dye and pigments intermediates capacity stands jeopardized.
The ill effects of both these setbacks were fully evident at this year's InterDye. While the exhibitor portfolio was secured largely due to the brand image of the event and the large contingents of Chinese and Indian exhibitors, there was a significant drop in visitors and more importantly a complete absence of energy and buoyancy at the Show. It is also believed that a lot of the firm orders that are normally clinched during the Show did not happen this time around with the uncertainty over both the pricing and the availability being a stumbling block towards any firm commitments by both buyers and sellers alike.
It is clear that there is now a gap in this space created by China, willingly or unwillingly, and the onus is now on our Indian industry to stand up and be counted. The pigment industry must seize this opportunity in terms of ramping up their own capacities and also finding out means to overcome the adverse intermediates scenario. Our downstream consuming industry must also be braced for shortages and volatile pricing on account of this, and get its forecasting and supply chain in place. Either ways, it is going to make for an interesting couple of years ahead for our industry.