Overview of the chemical industry in Central America

The chemical industry is responsible for converting many of the raw materials that the region produces into numerous products that we use in our daily lives. For many people, the importance of this crucial industry goes unnoticed, which encompasses various facets of productive life such as: agriculture, food, hygiene, and even transportation.

In recent decades, the chemical industry has also played a significant role in recycling practices to curb the use of virgin products. This kind of recycling helps a lot in the utilization of waste materials and gives a longer life cycle to many products.

According to data provided by Deloitte, the current chemical industry is an industry of 3,347 million dollars, covering a market with growth rates of over 5% per year, and with a value of 1.8 times Germany’s GDP. With these figures, the sector has shown considerable profitability and stability even in complex times for the global economy.

This is an industry that in the last ten years has created more value for shareholders, employees and customers than most other industries globally. In this context, the Central American region has begun to establish itself among the producers and managers of chemicals in the world.

Outstanding performers of the chemical industry in Central America

According to analysts from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), since 1990 the Central American countries where this industrial branch has the greatest significance have been Nicaragua and Honduras, because the largest chemical companies with sufficient capacity have established themselves there. to supply the needs of the Central American Common Market.

In the case of Honduras, the presence of Grupo Karim’s, a leading company in the region in the textile sector, the chemical industry, and industrial real estate projects, with a presence in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, has been of particular relevance for its growing role in this industry.

Grupo Karim’s has had a profound impact on the growth of the chemical industry thanks to its Chemical Division, led by Pride Chemicals, a leading brand dedicated to the formulation and production of special chemicals to be used in different textile processes.

Similarly, this conglomerate has yarn and chemical distribution centers and sales offices in countries as varied as Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and the United Arab Emirates.

It should be noted that companies such as Pride Chemicals, of Honduran capital and origin, are, in addition to the largest in the area, the most complex from the technological and productive point of view, since their processes are chemical synthesis and not simple mixing.

The prospects for the chemical industry in Central America

Since mid-2020, the Central American markets began to generate greater interest in products related to the chemical industry, leading to a clear rebound in Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, with the largest increases in the interactions of the consumers in a decade.

In Guatemala, the long-term trend shows that in the environment of global buyers, interest has been increasing in marketing chemical products from that country. Guatemalan companies dedicated to the supply of chemical products for the industry are grouped in the Guild of Manufacturers and Distributors of Industrial Chemical Products of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry.

From this industrial platform, mechanisms have been promoted for many years, and with greater force, at the national and international level to improve the competitiveness of the sector and the country.

When analyzing the Costa Rican market, it was found that the chemical industry had reported a sustained increase since the beginning of 2019. However, since the first months of 2020, the short-term trend in the interactions between consumers and the chemical industry has entered in a slight decline.

The case of El Salvador is similar to that of Costa Rica, since since September 2019, the growth of the chemical industry reflected a sustained increase in purchases from this sector, but in the case of the short-term trend, trade began to stabilize downward in January 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

In Honduras, a wide variety of chemical products are handled for all sectors, ranging from textiles, mining, cosmetics, detergents, and industrial chemicals in general. Although still developing, the Honduran chemical industry is dynamic and still has great growth potential. Investment opportunities are extremely good despite some government restrictions.

In general, the economic conditions and industrial demands affecting the chemical industry in Central America vary widely from country to country. But where production and consumption statistics are available, it can be seen that the region as a whole has generated high rates of profit in the last ten years.

Against this positive background, chemical companies, which have spent the last two years with complications derived from the arrival of COVID-19, have tested their corporate resilience towards supply chain interruptions and other external shocks with positive results. remarkable.

For this reason, most analysts agree that the region’s chemical industry will continue to gain much more prominence in the coming years.

You may also want to read: The keys to the success of Latin American textile production

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