Russia - Country Commercial Guide
Polymers, Plastics and Polymer Processing

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-15

Overview

The Russian polymer market has dynamically developed in the last decade. According to the Russian Federal Statistics Service, production of all polymers in Russia was 8.756 million tons in 2019, including 2.357 million tons of polyethylene, 1.046 million tons of polyvinylchloride, and 550 thousand tons of polystyrene.

The Russian polymer market is far from saturated, as evidenced by the very low consumption of polymers, which in 2019 was 46.3 kg per person, a figure two times lower than in developed countries.  The consumption has been growing consistently for the last couple of years:  6340 thousand tons in 2017, 6530 thousand tons in 2018. and 6791 thousand tons in 2019.

Polymer demand has been growing faster than local production. Polymer imports soared by 50% and led to an increase in polymer prices, especially for polyethylene. With the increase in production volumes, new international companies have entered the Russian market.

Russia had been forecast to discontinue imports of polypropylene and become an exporter in 2014. However, some major import substitution projects were delayed, pushing back the implementation of polypropylene import substitution policies.

The market of polymers is not only determined by local production but also is affected by the share of imported plastics materials, the share of which was around 20%. Total imports to Russia of polymer products (HS codes 3916–3926) from 2013 to 2019 were 8.9 million tons, valued at about $35.2 billion. As for the categories of imported goods, there were few cardinal changes since 2013, as most imported plastic products are films - 28.7% of the total deliveries (in metric tons), followed by sheets -13.6%, goods included in the category of consumer goods (like stationery, accessories) - 11.6%, as well as pipes, hoses, and fittings - 8.1%.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim (TAIF) is Russia’s leading petrochemical producer, producing a significant amount of polypropylene and polyethylene. In 2019, ZapSibNeftekhim (SIBUR), the largest petrochemical complex was opened, which will lead to an increase of polyolefins production by two million tons per year. Other Russian manufacturers include Kazanorgsintez (TAIF), Tomskneftekhim (SIBUR), Gazpromneftekhim Salavat, (Gazprom), Ufaorgsintez (Bashneft and Rosneft).

The average unit value of imported equipment for plastics processing by injection, extrusion, and blow molding increased from 8% to 57%. The data includes all types of equipment for primary processing of polymers and rubber, and all types of machinery and tools for post-processing of semi-finished or finished products, as well as peripheral equipment, tooling, spare parts and accessories. Import duties on all types of equipment have not changed and are still set at 0%.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • High-tech and sophisticated polymers, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC-E)
  • Polymer processing equipment like injection molding machines, extrusion, and blow-molding equipment
  • High quality plastic products, like sheets, pipes, hoses, fittings used in special industries

Opportunities

The modernization of Russian polymer and plastics processing companies has been underway for several years. In 2018, $540.2 million was spent on the purchase of extrusion lines, excluding the cost of the extruders themselves, a 17% increase from 2017.  The most vivid example was NTC Nizhnekamskneftekhim, which installed five lines that allowed the company to produce more than 60% of polystyrene products produced in the country. Three lines utilized American “FINO” technology, allowing the production of both general-purpose polystyrene and high-impact polystyrene. The fourth line, provided by the Italian company Polymeri Europa, ensures the production of ABS plastic with a minimal amount of additives. The fifth line was created using the Japanese technology of the Mitsui company, allowing polystyrene production with narrow molecular weight distribution. Other Russian manufacturers (there are more than 300 of them) are also modernizing, which offers potential opportunities for U.S. manufacturers of plastics processing equipment to enter the Russian market.  

The best opportunities for U.S. exporters are in production equipment and materials that can enable local manufacturers to gain a higher market share with quality chemical products, such as polyvinylchloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and polyethylene.

Investment in the chemical sector is crucial for the Russian economy, which provides U.S. machinery suppliers with an opportunity to sell their chemical and plastic-processing equipment. The Russian Strategy for the Development of the Chemical Industry (https://docs.cntd.ru/document/420245722) is a key source for funding these purchases. Both injection molding machines and extrusion equipment are in demand.

Domestic producers of chemical and plastic materials can currently meet the market demand for basic polymers, though foreign companies more typically supply more sophisticated products. The market provides good prospects for chemicals and plastics from U.S. suppliers. Up to 80% of emulsion polyvinyl chloride (PVC-E) is imported because there are not enough Russian manufacturing capabilities, and no plans to increase local production. Likewise, the share of imported polyethylene (PET) is also high, though there are some distant plans to increase local production.

Other products in demand include polyethylene materials, polyvinyl chloride sheets and films (furniture, posters), polyolefin films, polyethylene films, and many others.

COVID-19 changed the behavior of the majority of the world’s population towards plastics, and Russia is no exception.  Plastic products like gloves, shields, and protective gear became invaluable in fighting the disease. As the overall demand for plastics will continue to grow, the demand for polymers and monomers will also increase.

Trade Events

Composite-Expo
March 29-31, 2022
Moscow

Polyurethanex

March 29 - 31, 2022
Moscow

Chemistry
October 26-29, 2021
Moscow

Interplastica
January 25-28, 2022
Moscow

Resources

  • Media Platform for Plastics
  • Plastics.ru
  • Union of Plastics Processors