Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/02/2012 -- Global demand for rubber processing chemicals is forecast to increase 4.7 percent per year through 2015 to 1.35 million metric tons. Gains will be driven by continuing robust gains in the Asia/Pacific region (especially China), and recovery in demand in the US, Western Europe and Japan following declines in these three areas in the 2000s.
Demand for rubber processing chemicals strongly tracks rubber consumption trends. As standards of living improve throughout the developing world, motor vehicle ownership rates will continue to rise and lead to increased demand for tire rubber, the main market for rubber chemicals. Motor vehicle sales will also benefit from recovery in much of the developed world that witnessed recession or stagnation in recent years. Non-tire rubber chemical demand will benefit from continuing industrialization in the developing world.
China to be fastest growing rubber chemical market
Rubber chemical demand in China is projected to grow 8.1 percent per year through 2015 to around 580,000 metric tons. Gains will benefit from healthy growth in both tire and non-tire rubber demand, with the former rising especially strongly. The US, Japan and Western Europe are all expected to see a reversal from the declines experienced between 2000 and 2010. However, growth in all three will be less than one percent per year through 2015, reflecting market maturity in rubber consuming sectors.
Antidegradants demand to grow 4.7% annually
Demand for antidegradants (which improve rubber’s resistance to the effects of oxidation, ozone, heat, sunlight and mechanical stress) is projected to grow 4.7 percent per year through 2015 to 810,000 metric tons. Antidegradant demand will be fueled by both expansion in its major applications (tires and industrial rubber products), as well as continuing efforts to improve performance and lengthen service lives of rubber goods. One factor that will counter increasing antidegradant usage is the faster growth in demand for natural rubber versus synthetic rubber. Natural rubber has natural anti-oxidative properties and requires less antioxidant loadings than synthetic rubber to achieve similar properties.
Accelerator demand to outpace rubber consumption
Accelerator demand will exceed 415,000 metric tons in 2015. These chemicals, which control the vulcanization process, are required in all vulcanized rubber products. As such, demand tends to track overall rubber consumption. However, accelerator demand will outpace rubber consumption due to the above-average gains forecast for secondary or ultra accelerators. These chemicals, which are used with ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and latex compounds, offer rapid cure rates and are believed to be less toxic than primary accelerators. Demand for other processing chemicals, including processing aids, adhesion promoters and blowing agents, among numerous others, will reach 130,000 metric tons in 2015. Processing aids, used to improve plasticity and molding properties of rubber, are expected to see high growth due to the increased usage of natural rubber. Natural rubber is difficult to process due to low plasticity, and thus requires more processing aids.
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