GDP in Latam and the Caribbean contracted by 6.8% in 2020, the biggest decrease of all the regions covered by the IMF. However, average growth estimates are forecast above 5% in 2021, with the chemical and petrochemical industries being key components of this rebound. Demand for hygiene-related products, chemicals for agriculture and non-durable goods such as packaging has remained strong, while markets which experienced lower demand in 2020, such as polystyrene and PVC, have rebounded in 2021.
The year has not been without its challenges, as a constrained global supply chain has highlighted the importance of establishing greater regional production in Latin America, a situation exacerbated by unprecedented logistics disruptions and a lack of domestic raw material feedstock.
Perhaps the biggest topic of 2021 has been the acceleration of a global environmental agenda. Sustainability has become the overarching theme touching all facets of the chemical and petrochemical industries, influencing new forms of energy such as green hydrogen, and creating a new wave of business opportunities on the path towards a circular economy.