Cumene Market size is forecast to reach $26.9 billion by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 7% during 2020-2025. The Cumene Market is witnessing an increase in demand as they are widely used in the manufacture of rubber, iron, and steel, and pulp and paper and thinner for paints, lacquers, and enamels and as a component of high-octane fuels. Demand for Cumene is increasing due to their unique properties such as flammability, high boiling points, and solubility in organic solvents. These characteristics of Cumene are driving its demand in various end use industries such as paint, chemical, automotive, and plastic, which will accelerate the cumene industry substantially in the forecast era.
Cumene Market Segment Analysis – By Manufacturing Process
Alkylation of benzene and propene using the catalyst process is widely used in the cumene market. An alkylation reactor uses a catalyst to transform the liquid phase of benzene and propylene to Cumene. A small fraction of cumene is additionally alkylated to polyisopropylbenzenes (PIPB) that is distilled and transformed to cumene in the transalkylating reactor. Owing to the low variable operating cost, lower capital investment, and high-reliability alkylation of benzene and propene it is the most preferred manufacturing process. Use of this process allows high selectivity to Cumene which reduces distillation column sizes, high activity catalyst that enables a smaller reactor volume and catalyst quantity, and low temperature, pressure, and noncorrosive operating conditions. Hence owing to such advantages of this process it is anticipated to be used during the forecast period.
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Cumene Market Segment Analysis – By Application
Phenol held the largest share in the cumene market in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period 2020-2025. Cumene is used in the manufacture of phenol and acetone as a chemical intermediate, which is commonly used in various industries. Phenols are used to shape epoxy resins used in plastic, rubber, paints, and coatings. Phenol is an intermediate compound that finds its essential use as a raw material for the production of synthetic resins, synthetic fibers, agricultural chemicals, and surface-active agents. Phenolic resins are commonly used in various applications such as packaging coatings and the rubber industry, as they give a wide range of properties such as optimum flexibility balance, durability, chemical recovery, and toughness of films. Owing to such properties the cumene market will see massive growth in the forecast period.
Cumene Market Segment Analysis – By End Use
The plastic Industry held the largest share in the cumene market in 2019. Increasing demand for plastics has led to the rise of Cumene in the market. Phenols and acetone are widely used for the manufacture of plastics. Due to the characteristics such as mechanical strength and ability to blend with polymers, there is an increasing demand for phenolic resins for metal packaging applications. Bisphenol-A is also produced by phenol condensation with acetone and is used in plastics synthesis. Plastic based on BPA is transparent and hard and is used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are also used in food and beverage storage containers, such as plastic bottles. Hence the increasing use and growing demand for plastics and its applications will lead towards the growth of the Cumene market in the forecast period.
Cumene Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia Pacific held the largest share with 46% in the cumene market in 2019. Countries in this region such as China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia are witnessing a significant increase in the use of cumene in plastic and rubber applications. This growth is mainly due to the growing demand from the Asia-Pacific consumer phenol and acetone. Within the region demand for acetone is growing at a rapid rate as a solvent and an intermediate for the production of PMMA used in the medical and automotive industries after the extrusion and molding compounds. Also, according to the Department of Commerce, exports of Plastic & Rubber Articles in the period 2018-19 increased to US$ 9,443.69 million from US$ 7,572.68 million in the corresponding period of the previous year, recording a positive growth of 24.71 percent.
Cumene Market Drivers
Increasing demand for acetone will drive the market for cumene
Global processing of acetone is used as a by-product in the production of phenol, which includes the use of cumene. Acetone is used in a wide range of applications, such as methyl methacrylate (MMA) & BPA processing, and as a solvent in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. MMA is commonly used in the production of PMMA resins which are increasingly being used in the construction industry for the production of acrylic sheets. Other MMA applications are automotive parts and medical devices. Owing to the rise in global demand for acetone and the establishment of new production facilities for phenol/ acetone, the market demand for Cumene is projected to see a high growth rate during the forecast period.
Growing demand for benzene in various applications
Cumene is produced from Benzene. Benzene is contained in crude oil and is a major component of gasoline. Benzene is also an industrial chemical that is commonly used in the manufacturing of plastics, synthetic fibers, resins, colorants, rubber lubricants, detergents, medications, and pesticides. Benzene is created by volcanoes and forest fires, naturally. The greatest amount of benzene in the environment comes from our petroleum products. Also, benzene is commonly used in many industrial, commercial, and research applications as a solvent. In various production stages, manufacturers use products that contain benzene as solvents and are used in the manufacture of chemical and plastic products. Hence rise in various applications of benzene will drive the market for Cumene.
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Cumene Market Challenges
Health effects and the increasing cost of cumene
Cumene is an irritant to the skin, eye, and respiratory system. Cumene can cause nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, sore throat, and headache, and muscle function loss if inhaled. This has a narcotic effect in large doses, resulting in drowsiness and insensitivity to pain and other symptoms, which may lead to unconsciousness. When refined petroleum products such as Cumene are released into the atmosphere they cause health problems such as irritation of the skin, headache. Cumene is made from benzene and is highly dependent on the price of crude oil. Hence, as crude oil prices raise the benzene production costs, which in effect increases the Cumene production prices.
Cumene Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Cumene Market. In 2019, the market of Cumene Market has been consolidated by the top five players accounting for xx% of the share. Major players in the Cumene Market are BASF, Sigma-Aldrich, The Dow Chemical Company, Tata Chemicals Limited, KMG Chemicals, Koch Industries, INEOS Group Limited, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Royal Dutch Shell PLC among others.
In October 2015, INEOS Americas LLC acquired Axiall Corporation in Pasadena, Texas which comprises the cumene plant. This acquisition was for producing 900,000 tons of products and employing around 43 people.
Asia Pacific dominates the cumene market due to the increasing use and demand of phenols and acetone from various end-use industries in this region.
Cumene is classified as an aromatic hydrocarbon which is a very important industrial chemical and is used primarily as a raw material in the synthesis of organic compounds.
The rise in demand for the laminates and plastics industries will increase the demand for the cumene market in the forecast era.
The hazardous effect and increasing price of crude oils will create hurdles for the cumene market in the forecast period.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic most of the countries have gone under lockdown, due to which operations of various industries such as the paint industry have been negatively affected, which is hampering the cumene market growth.
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