PLASFED DERGİ FROM THE INDUSTRY Ph.D. Selçuk Mutlu Acting Secretary General PLASFED Overview of the Plastics Industry in 2019 The slowdown in the second half of 2018 continued gaining momentum and resulted in the relative loss of profit earned during the second half of 2018. In this context, our economy grew by 2.6% in 2018 and closed the year with a growth rate below 4 to 5 percent which is the potential growth rate. Given leading indicators, the shrinkage observed in the second half of 2018 appears to continue in 2019, albeit with redu- ced effect. The positive atmosphere in the exports market will continue. Considering the plastics industry specifically, the shrinkage seems to be a bit stronger. The slowdown becoming effective in industries that buy considerable amount of goods from the plastics industry, such as construction, automotive and white goods, has a particular adverse impact on our industry. In fact, the exports data for the first month of 2019 supports this opinion. Our raw material exports in January are reduced by 18.6% in quantity compared to the same month of the previous year. As we are dependent on external raw materials by 85%, even this data sheds light on the fact that the plastics industry will go through a challenging year compared to other industries. In this period of reduced domestic market demand and profit margin with difficulties in finding loan facili- ties, the strategies becoming increasingly important will be stressed as enhancing the share of exports in overall sales and developing new exports markets. While the exports increased considerably in 2018 compared to the previous year, the imports decreased substantially. The shrin- kage in imports was effective specifically in the second half of the year and the raw material imports closed the year declining by 5.7%, which increased by 8.3% earlier in the first half of the year compared to the previous year. The actual rise in exports experi- enced during the mentioned period was 10.2% in quantity and 14.3% in value, on average. In the same period, the rate of imports decreased by 4.3% and the value of imports declined by 2.9% similarly. While the increase in the value of both export and import exceeding that in quantity demonstrates the overall rise in prices, the rise in import unit prices appear to be higher than that in export unit prices. 120