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Maleic Anhydride Consumption Will Grow By 2.6% In 2007

Oct 11, 2007
In general, demand for MA is governed by the economic situation in the country. Thus, in 2001-2006, the average annual MA market growth rate was 2.8% in the USA and 3.5% in Western Europe, while in Japan it dropped by 1.4%. Global MA consumption grew by 6-7% a year to 1.5m mt/y in 2006. Current consumption growth rate slowed down a little. Maleic anhydride market behaviour is determined by the balance between launched/expected facilities and the demand for its derivatives. The demand for maleic anhydride is great among major buyers which use maleic anhydride in unsaturated polyester resins.

Major anhydride-consuming substances were: unsaturated polyesters (more than 50%) and 1.4-butanediol. Other maleic anhydride consumers include the producers of plasticizers, coatings, agricultural chemicals, lubricants, fumaric and malic acids.
The biggest maleic anhydride suppliers (net exporters) to the global market are the USA, Japan, Belgium, Italy. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific region are major net importers. Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain purchase fairly large volumes. Analytics predict slight reduction of maleic anhydride export, primarily of US export to the Asian countries.

Maleic anhydride is used for the production of unsaturated polyesters, 1,4-butanediol, polymeric materials, alkyd and polymeric resins, synthetic fibres, detergents, pharmaceuticals, fuel additives and stabilizers, fumaric and malic acids. It is widely applied in the preparation of certain agricultural chemicals. Polyester resins account for 50% of global MA (63% in the USA). In spite of well-established character of maleic anhydride application areas, specialists continue to develop new anhydride-based products. Thus, Bayer has been studying novel fields of maleic anhydride application. This company has engineered iminodisuccinate, a biodegradable chelating agent, and polyaspartic acid, a biodegradable dispersing agent. Maleic anhydride is a component of Bayer's Leverkusen-manufactured products which are sold worldwide.

MA market is mature, while the application areas of this chemical are well-formed and stable. However, the development of the new MA-based products is under way.

The market of polyester resins is a major maleic anhydride consumer in the United States. This market grew at a steady rate each year. However, this sector of anhydride consumption is very sensitive: it fully mirrors GDP status. Boats, yachts, reinforced plastic based products, cultured marble bathroom fixtures, automotive body parts, tubes - all these commodities feel well on the market when GDP has a tendency to grow.

The second most anhydride-consuming area is lube oil additives, as well the use of anhydride as a dispersant or corrosion inhibitor in gasoline. Due to the recent changes in datasheets and the current application of more advanced engines, the demand for lubricants with maleic anhydride addition has significantly shrivelled, which results in the fact that this area does not show any signs of growth. Agricultural chemicals sector is not better for maleic anydride consumption, either. The demand dropped due to stricter environmental requirements and more ecologically friendly pesticides.

In Western Europe the main application area for maleic anhydride is the production of polyester unsaturated resins (more than 60%). Then goes the production of plasticizers. Europe itself could not produce enough maleic anhydride to satisfy the demand of its consumers due to the closure of a number of facilities in the beginning of 90-ies. It is a purely anhydride-importing region.

In Russia, the demand for MA reaches around 10K mt/y.

MA is a basic chemical used in automotive, shipbuilding, paint and varnish, construction, agricultural chemistry and other industries.
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