Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon extracted from crude oil. Major derivatives of benzene include cumene, ethylbenzene, alkylbenzene, nitrobenzene, cyclohaxane, chlorobenzene, phenol, aniline and toluene. Benzene & its derivatives are widely used as a feedstock in manufacturing of various chemicals.
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Growing demand of styrene polymers from various industries such as automobiles, paints & coatings, foams and films is expected to drive the benzene & its derivatives market. As ethylbenzene is a major feedstock for styrene production, demand for styrene is expected to fuel growth of this market. Demand from automobiles, coatings & paints is raising owing to increasing population and disposable income in developing countries. Further, demand for cumene is expected to grow at higher pace owing to increase in demand from specialty chemical production. Cumene is used in manufacturing of acetone and phenols which are employed to manufacture phenolic resins, alkylphenols, bisphenol A, caprolactam and other chemicals. Phenol demand is growing at a higher rate, which in turn is expected to boost consumption of cumene and subsequently of benzene. Phenolic resins, bisphenol A are raw materials for various markets such as foam, epoxy resins, polycarbonate, polyurethane among others.
Benzene & its derivatives are subjected to risk of volatility in supply and price of crude oil. Ethylbenzene has adverse effect on human body if exposed to it for longer duration. Its traces are found in soil and air which compells environmental regulatory agencies to implement stringent regulations on usage of ethylbenzene in end products. Existing and upcoming regulations regarding use of benzene & its derivatives in end products is expected to hamper the market growth. Rising investments in downstream industries in Middle East are expected to provide immense opportunities for benzene & its derivatives market in the near future. Due to proximity to raw material, multinational companies are investing in Middle East in order to reduce the overall production cost.
Asia Pacific was the largest consumer of benzene & its derivatives and this trend is anticipated to remain same in the next few years. Consumption patterns in Asia Pacific are showing upward trend owing to shift of manufacturing facilities to China and India due to availability of cheap labour and raw material. China and Japan were largest consumer of benzene in this region while, South Korea and India are expected to grow at a higher pace. Rising demand from automobile, coatings, textiles and other industries is expected to drive the benzene & its derivatives market in Asia Pacific. In addition, increasing production capacities in specialty chemicals are expected to fuel the market growth. Consumption for benzene & its derivatives in rest of the world was low but it is expected to grow at a moderate pace followed by Asia Pacific. North America is expected to grow at a substantial rate owing to demand from construction and textiles industry. Demand from Europe was low comparatively and is expected to remain same in the near future owing to stringent environmental regulations.
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Some of the key players in this market include ExxonMobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., JX Holdings, Dow Chemical Company, CNPC, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, Total S.A., BASF SE, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and China National Petroleum Corporation among others.
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