Propylene is one of the most important starting products in the petrochemical industry. The new study from Ceresana Research forecasts a dynamic development of the global demand for propylene, namely an increase of more than 20 million tons by 2017. “Sales of propylene reached their peak value of over $90 billion in 2008,” said Oliver Kutsch, the president of the market research institute. “This level will be surpassed as soon as in 2012.”
An important factor, which will impact the global propylene market, is the massive capacity expansions for propylene and downstream products in the Middle East and China. Middle East countries exhibit the largest increases in propylene production and demand. Ceresana Research expects that supply and demand in these countries will have doubled by 2014. However, the Asia-Pacific region will continue to dominate the market and generate more than 45 percent of all demand. China is rising to become the greatest propylene consumer worldwide and will most likely edge out the U.S. to take over second place in 2011.
The most important buyers of propylene include manufacturers of polypropylene who account for nearly two thirds of all demand. Polypropylene is one of the best-selling plastics, second only to polyethylene. The largest consumer is the automobile industry. Polypropylene has a very wide range of applications and is, for example, also needed for the manufacturing of packaging films, bottle caps, fiber ropes as well as for bicycle helmets and nappies.
The second-largest propylene market consists of producers of acrylonitrile, followed by propylene oxide. The production of cumene accounts for about 5.5 percent of the global demand for propylene. Acrylonitrile is mainly used to produce acrylic fibers, which are processed into textiles. The derivatives of propylene oxide are needed as raw materials for the manufacturing of products like polyurethane, lacquers and adhesives, polyester resins, cooling agents, antifreeze and solvents. Cumene is mainly used to manufacture phenol and acetone, and is therefore also a pre-product for bisphenol A, phenol resins, caprolactam and methyl methacrylate.
The market study by Ceresana Research analyzes the world market for propylene including demand, production, imports, exports, revenues and prices are examined, including forecasts up to 2017. Particular emphasis is put on the 55 countries where propylene is produced. The investigated application areas include polypropylene, acrylonitrile, propylene oxide, cumene, isopropanol, acrylic acid, 2-ethylhexanol, and n-butanol. The buyers guide lists 137 profiles of all large propylene manufacturers. The study is now available in English or German from Ceresana Research. For more information visit www.ceresana.com/en/market-studies/chemicals/propylene/ CW