Like many industries in the Asia Pacific, the Philippines' petrochemical industry is expected to go through a period of rapid growth, fueled by an expanding economy and increasing demand, Business Monitor International said in a recent report which examined the trends for development of the sector.

A key factor for the development of the industry is identified as the import of petrochemicals, which will still play a significant role. Despite the planned expansion of domestic petrochemical operations, the Philippines is predicted to boost its imports further, with imports continuing to grow as a proportion of overall domestic sales.

A major obstacle for the development of the domestic industry will be the delay in opening the JG Summit Petrochemical cracking facility, which was postponed until the first quarter of next year. This delay means that petrochemical production in the Philippines will remain limited until 2014, the analysis found.

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However, once the JG Summit facility becomes operational it will produce ethylene at a capacity of 320,000 tons per year. Production of olefins will be a major boost for the petrochemical industry in the country, which mostly relies on imported ethylene and propylene.

The automotive industry is expected to be the the main consumer of petrochemicals, mostly rubber and engineering plastics, as experts predict it will grow at an annual rate of 12 percent, hitting 100,000 units by 2017.