Associations from around the world provided the latest hollow glass market updates during last week’s virtual glasstec conference.

Sanjay Somany of the All India Glass Manufacturers' Federation (AIGMF), Adeline Farrelly of the Federation of European Manufacturers of Glass Containers (FEVE), Dr Johann Overath of Germany’s Bundesverband Glasindustrie (BV Glas), Nguyễn Huy Thang of AFGM (ASEAN Federation of Glass Manufacturers), Dr Nick Kirk of British Glass and Scott DeFife of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) all gave updates of their regions and the effect Covid-19 has had on the hollow glass industry.

Mr Somany provided an update on behalf of the AIGMF on the Indian container glass market, which is worth US $14 billion. He explained that its market worth was due to the mass exporting of goods all over the world.

The use of glass in India itself is low by comparison, with the consumption of container glass in the country at only 1.8kg per capita, which compared to a country like South Korea, which uses 89kg per capita, is considerably low.

With Covid-19 seriously affecting the market, including the sale and exporting of beer in the country, he believes that there will be a 20% drop in beer sales and demand in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Despite a 20% drop expected, Mr Somany said he is expecting a V-shaped recovery starting during the second quarter of 2021.

Following on from Mr Somany was Ms Farrelly, Secretary General of FEVE, who said the current pandemic was “Armageddon-like” with the impact it is having on the industry.

She said: “The hospitality sector has been hit hard. We could see a 38% reduction in 2020 demand and this could get worse.”

Ms Farrelly explained that despite this, there had been an increase of 1.4% in home retail items being bought, such as jars for sauces and spices.

But despite these type of sales increasing, this would not be enough to supplement the decrease in other container glass such as alcohol, which has been hit due to closures of bars and restaurants during lockdowns.

Dr Overath presented statistics on behalf of the container glass market in Germany. The outlook for the German market is similar to many other countries, with Covid-19 having affected exports, particularly in beer and spirits, wines and the cosmetic glass segment.

As Ms Farrelly earlier eluded to, food jar sales had performed above average for the first half of the year, along with pharmaceutical glass.

But there were positives despite the problems caused by Covid-19. He said: “According to the IFO Institute, the economic outlook is largely positive for container glass manufacturers, so we are optimistic about the second half of the year.”

Mr Thang, representing South East Asian glass manufacturers, gave an overview of the region.

After explaining that container glass makes up 16% of the ASEAN manufacturing sector, he said that demand for glass had slowed during the pandemic, with temporary and complete closedown of furnaces and production lines all causing short term impact to the region.

Mr Thang said that after reaching a 4% growth last year, the Indonesian container glass market is forecast to shrink by as much as 10% this year due to Covid-19.

This was also the case in Thailand, and he suggested the importation of container glass was the lowest it has ever been in May of this year.

But Mr Thang hoped that with government support along with product innovation, opportunities within the healthcare sector with pharmaceutical glass and the automation of production lines can help the South East Asian industry to recover, despite believing there was up to a 21% reduction in demand in Q2 2020 compared to the previous year.

Dr Nick Kirk from British Glass had a slightly more positive outlook for the UK container glass industry.

He echoed the point that there was high demand for food packaging such as sauce jars, which he hinted came from the ‘panic buying’ during the height of the UK lockdown.

Consumption for premium products, such as spirits, dropped as fewer people travelled by air which meant duty free facilities in airports were unused.

Beer sales decreased as sporting events, such as the football European Championship, were postponed and fewer people drank alcohol at home

Dr Kirk admitted believed there would only be a 1% drop in sales from the figures from 2019, slightly better than was seen in other parts of the world.

Another cause for optimism in the UK glass industry was the increased recycling rates across the country. Leeds, Yorkshire saw a 20% increase in recycling in April 2020, and this shot up to a 60% increase in May compared to 2019 figures.

Dr Kirk explained that the while the hospitality sector was closed, the increase in household recycling made up for this shortfall.

Lastly, Scott DeFife, President of the American Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) advised that the cullet use in American furnaces were lower than expected in the second and third quarters of the year.

The GPI wants to increase the recycled content used in furnaces across the country and its aim is to go from a third of an average bottle to be from recycled content to a half, he explained.