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AMI’s cable research team has found consumption of insulation and jacketing polymers has grown faster than the rest of the European plastics industry and the European GDP.

Market growth has been driven by EU-supported initiatives to modernise and upgrade power transmission networks.

This trend will continue to support demand in 2009.

PVC compounds are the most widely used materials for cable insulation and jacketing.

The market for PVC cable compounds recovered between 2004-2008 after losing market share in west Europe between 1996 and 2004.

PVC continues to compete in the market on price, technical performance and ease of processing.

The price of PVC compounds is still lower than polyethylene cable compounds, the price of which has risen and fallen in line with oil and ethylene prices.

PVC is less ethylene-intensive than PE.

Consumption of polyethylene cable compounds has grown since 2004, with this market driven by strong demand for LSF0H and XLPE grades.

The study forecasts future growth by country, application and polymer up until 2012, driven mainly by infrastructure investments in the newer EU accession countries.

In the short term, building, wire and automotive markets are likely to contract because of a downturn in the European construction industry and an anticipated recession for European manufacturing, but recovery is anticipated between 2010 and 2012, delivering overall growth to bring the market to 1.6 million tonnes by 2012.

The European cable extrusion industry is relatively consolidated; polymer consumption by Europe’s top players is broken down by individual plant in the 2008 study.

Mature and changing market dynamics have driven ongoing restructuring and reorganisation among Europe’s leading cable manufacturers to optimise production and reduce costs.

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