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The Japanese market registers a slight loss

News International-French

27 Jul 2011

The Japanese economy is relatively stable and very mature. The change noted in the composites sector these past few years has been gradual, and the decline observed from 2001 to 2003 appears to have come to a halt. Volumes in the first two quarters in 2004 rose again with respect to the figures for the corresponding period in 2003.

(Published on August-September 2005 – JEC Magazine #19)

 

There was a downward trend from 2001 to 2003, although the only noteworthy event in any of the main user sectors occurred in septic tanks, where volumes dropped from 61,300 metric tons (MT) in 2001 to 48,100 MT in 2003. For that reference period, we observe a slight downturn in the market with overall volumes decreasing from 359,200 MT to 337,400 MT.

 

The automotive sector continued its growth, however, reaching 24,200 MT in 2003.

 

Table 1: shipping statistics for composites (January 2001 – June 2004)

Year Articles 2001 2002 2003 2003
Jan. - June
2004
Jan. - June
Construction 50,900 (95) 49,800 (98) 50,700 (102) 23,200 (94) 27,800 (120
Bathtubs / Bath-units 98,900 (97) 96,200 (97) 97,300 (101) 46,800 (101) 44,400 (95)
Septic tanks 61,300 (94) 55,100 (90) 48,100 (87) 23,000 (82) 23,700 (103)
Boats 12,300 (80) 11,300 (92) 10,800 (96) 5,400 (95) 5,900 (109)
Automotives /
Rolling stock
22,400 (97) 21,200 (95) 24,200 (114) 11,500 (111) 13,300 (116)
Tanks / Containers 30,600 (95) 28,400 (93) 26,800 (94) 14,200 (109) 12,400 (87)
Industrials 40,100 (86) 38,500 (96) 38,200 (99) 17,500 (94) 19,100 (109)
Miscellaneous goods 32,900 (94) 31,400 (95) 29,800 (95) 14,400 (91) 15,300 (106)
Others 9,800 (123) 12,600 (129) 11,500 (91) 6,100 (141) 1,900 (31)
Total 359,200 (94) 344,500 (96) 337,400 (98) 162,100 (97) 163,800 (101)
Main trends for 2003
- Construction: composite sheet and plastic lining production rose by only 2% over the previous year.
- Bathtubs and bath units also increased slightly by 1% over 2002 volumes.
- Septic tanks: production dropped by 13%, compared to the previous year.
- Boats: a 4% decrease compared to 2002 volumes.
- Automotive and rolling stock rose by 14% compared to the previous year.
- Tanks and containers: a 6% decrease compared to the previous year.
- Industrial equipment: 2003 was not a particularly good year for pipes and electric parts, with a 1% decrease compared to 2002 volumes.
- Miscellaneous goods: a 5% decrease compared to the previous year.

 

The major Japanese builders like Toyota and Nissan performed well on the whole, which explains the good results for composite materials in that sector.

 

Table 2: shipping amounts by process (1998-2003)

Year Articles 1998 2001 2002 2003
Hand lay-up 18 19 20 21
Spray up 20 19 17 16
Moulding compounds 43 45 46 45
Others press moulding 3 2 2 2
Filament winding 7 5 6 7
Continuous moulding 5 6 5 4
Others 4 4 4 5
Total 100 100 100 100
Main trends for 2003
- SMC/BMC moulding processes: over the past 20 years, there have been
interesting developments in terms of major moulding processes.
Twenty years ago, hand lay-up and spray-up were dominant and more widely
used than SMC/BMC. Today, however, SMC/BMC moulding processes have
taken the lead. This is probably because these automated processes require
no skilled workers, yet offer approximately equivalent quality.
- The lining business is growing: from 1997 to 2003, volumes produced using the
hand lay-up process grew steadily each year from 18% to 21%. Market analyses
show that this is probably linked to the successful expansion of the lining business.

 

Another sector that was relatively stable is building and construction, which is also closely linked to the purchasing power of households. It dropped very slightly from 50,900 MT in 2001 to 50,700 in 2003, and the bathtubs/bath-units sector, which is itself highly dependent on building and construction, was also relatively stable, decreasing only slightly from 98,900 to 97,300 MT.

 

The development of niche markets is also worthy of note, with the “other” sectors increasing from 9,800 to 11,500 MT.

 

A look at the available data observed would indicate that the downward trend has been reversed. The volume figures for the first two quarters of 2004 are better than for the corresponding period in 2003. A slow rise is underway, with volumes increasing from 162,100 to 163,800 MT.