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Globally, India is the third-largest consumer of polymers, fourth-largest producer of agrochemicals and sixth-largest producer of chemicals

Chemicals Industry and Exports

    Last updated on Jan, 21 2021

Indian Chemicals Industry Report  (Size: 753.72 KB ) (November, 2020)


Covering more than 80,000 commercial products, India’s chemical industry is extremely diversified and can be broadly classified into bulk chemicals, specialty chemicals, agrochemicals, petrochemicals, polymers and fertilisers.

India accounts for ~16% of the world production of dyestuffs and dye intermediates. Indian colorants industry has emerged as a key player with a global market share of ~15%.

India’s proximity to the Middle East, the world’s source of petrochemicals feedstock, enables it to benefit on economies of scale.

Market Size

The Indian chemicals industry stood at US$ 178 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach US$ 304 billion by 2025 registering a CAGR of 9.3%. The demand for chemicals is expected to expand by 9% per annum by 2025.

In September 2020, the production of key chemicals was 8,36,435 MT and petrochemicals was 17,26,502 MT.

The specialty chemicals constitute 22% of the total chemicals and petrochemicals market in India. The demand for specialty chemicals is expected to rise at a 12% CAGR in 2019-22. The petrochemicals demand is expected to record a 7.5% CAGR between 2019 and 2023, with polymer demand increasing at 8%. The agrochemicals market is expected to witness an 8% CAGR to reach US$ 3.7 billion by FY22 and US$ 4.7 billion by FY25.

In October 2020, exports of organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals increased by 2% on a y-o-y basis to reach US$ 1,812.22 million. For petrochemicals, imports of petroleum and crude products decreased by 39% on a y-o-y basis to reach US$ 3,44.1 million in October 2020.

Investments and Recent Developments

A few recent developments/investments in the Indian chemical sector are as follows:

  • On November 06, 2020, HIL (Hindustan Insecticides Limited) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Chemicals & Petro Chemicals to achieve revenue target of Rs. 451 crore (US$ 60.86 million).
  • On November 04, 2020, Pidilite Industries acquired Huntsman Group's Indian subsidiary for Rs. 2,100 crore (US$ 283.38 million) to strengthen adhesives and sealants portfolio that will complement the company's retail portfolio.
  • In October 2020, Grasim Industries signed a definitive agreement with Lubrizol Advanced Materials (speciality chemical company) to manufacture and supply chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) resin in Gujarat. The initial production is expected to begin in end-2022.

Government Initiatives

The government has started various initiatives such as mandating BIS-like certification for imported chemicals to prevent dumping of cheap and substandard chemicals into the country.

The Indian government recognises chemical industry as a key growth element and forecast to increase share of the chemical sector to ~25% of the GDP in the manufacturing sector by 2025.

  • A 2034 vision for the chemicals and petrochemicals sector has been set up by the government to explore opportunities to improve domestic production, reduce imports and attract investments in the sector. The government plans to implement production-link incentive system with 10-20% output incentives for the agrochemical sector; to create an end-to-end manufacturing ecosystem through the growth of clusters.
  • In October 2020, the government urged players in the agrochemicals industry to come out with new molecules of global standards for the farmers' benefit, while CropLife India, the industry body, pitched for stable policies and regulatory regimes to boost growth in the sector.
  • 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route in the chemicals sector with few exceptions that include hazardous chemicals. Total FDI inflow in the chemicals (other than fertilisers) sector reached US$ 17.77 billion between April 2000 and June 2020.
  • The government has proposed several incentives for setting up a sourcing or manufacturing platform within an Indian SEZ:
    • Effective April 1, 2020, 100% Income Tax exemption on export income for SEZ units for the first five years, 50% for the next five years thereafter and 50% of the ploughed back export profit for next five years.
    • Single window clearance for central and state-level approvals.
    • Duty free import/domestic procurement of goods for development, operation, and maintenance of SEZ units.

Road Ahead

Despite the current pandemic situation, the Indian chemical industry has numerous opportunities considering the supply chain disruption in China and trade conflict among the US, Europe and China. Anti-pollution measures in China will also create opportunities for the Indian chemical industry in specific segments.

Additional support, in terms of fiscal incentives, such as tax breaks and special incentives through PCPIRs or SEZs to encourage downstream units will enhance production and development of the industry.

To bring about structural changes in the working of domestic chemical industry, future investments should not only focus on transportation of fuels such as petrol and diesel, but also on crude-to-chemicals complexes or refineries set up to cater to the production of chemicals.

Note: Conversion rate used for November 2020 is Rs. 1 = US$ 0.013

References: RBSA Advisors, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, India Chem report 2020, Dyestuffs Manufacturers Association of India

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.


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