US demand for specialty plastic additives is forecast to rise 4.5 percent annually to 4.0 billion pounds in 2017, driven by a rebound in the key construction market. Processing aids and property modifiers are expected to be the fastest growing types, while plasticizers will remain the largest segment. PVC will remain the dominant resin and will grow the fastest.
This study analyzes the 3.2 billion pound US plastic additives industry. It presents historical demand data for the years 2002, 2007 and 2012, and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by type (e.g., plasticizers, protective additives, property modifiers, processing aids) and resin (e.g., PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, polystyrene).
The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 39 major producers, including BASF, Exxon Mobil, and Eastman Chemical.
US demand to rise 4.5% annually through 2017
US demand for specialty plastic additives is forecast to rise 4.5 percent annually to 4.0 billion pounds in 2017, with market value reaching $7.3 billion. Advances will be fueled by an improved macroeconomic climate, which will boost overall demand for plastics in a number of markets. In particular, a strong rebound in construction activity following the severe declines of the recession-impacted 2007- 2012 period will create significant opportunities in the construction market, which is anticipated to generate over twothirds of new demand for plastic additives through 2017.
Phthalate-free plasticizers to pace key product segment
The outlook for the key plasticizers segment is tied closely to that for flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products, which comprise the vast majority of demand. Although phthalates will continue to dominate the plasticizer market, more rapid gains are anticipated for non-phthalate types due to ongoing concerns regarding the health and environmental risks associated with phthalate exposure. Spurred by mounting unease among consumers, manufacturers are phasing out the use of controversial compounds such as diethylhexyl phthalate plasticizers in favor of higher molecular weight phthalates and phthalate-free formulations with better safety profiles.
Flame retardants dominate the protective additives segment in volume terms and are projected to offer the best growth prospects, spurred by their utilization in construction products and related industries such as wire and cable. Health concerns about halogenated flame retardants, some of which are being voluntarily phased out, have resulted in a shift in product mix toward nonhalogenated alternatives. Among the other protective additives, demand for heat stabilizers will rebound strongly based on their use in rigid PVC products, while antioxidants will benefit from strengthening demand for polyolefins.
Among the property modifiers, impact modifiers represent the largest and fastest growing product type. These additives are chiefly employed in rigid PVC construction products and will therefore benefit from a turnaround in construction spending through 2017. This rebound will also provide opportunities for colorants in wood-plastic composite (WPC) lumber applications and chemical blowing agents utilized in the production of cellular PVC for decking, molding, and trim. Moreover, increased building activity will fuel demand for processing aids such as mold releases and lubricants, as well as compatibilizers and coupling agents, which are utilized in the rapidly expanding WPC lumber industry.
PVC resins market to offer best growth opportunities
PVC is the leading consumer of specialty plastic additives, accounting for a larger share of the market than all other resins combined. Through 2017, PVC is also projected to achieve the most rapid gains, stemming from the widespread use of rigid PVC products in the rebounding construction industry. Expanding opportunities for rigid PVC will propel demand for additives such as impact modifiers and lubricants, while more moderate advances are anticipated for flexible PVC additives such as plasticizers and antimicrobials. Among other resins, polyolefins are expected to offer strong growth prospects. In particular, additives demand will benefit from polyethylene’s position as the predominant resin used in WPC products, as well as the increasing popularity of polypropylene in automotive components.
Profiles 39 industry players such as BASF, Chemtura and Exxon Mobil
This study analyzes the US market for plastic additives, including plasticizers, protective additives (flame retardants, antioxidants, heat and light stabilizers, and antimicrobials), property modifiers (impact modifiers, colorants, chemical blowing agents, antistatic agents, and antifogging agents), and processing aids (lubricants and mold release agents, slip agents, compatibilizers and coupling agents, and antiblocking agents). Although some commodity products are included to give a better and complete view of some segments of the market, this study focuses primarily on specialty additives and excludes fillers, reinforcing fibers, and titanium dioxide pigments. In addition, the study discusses environmental, regulatory, and other market environment factors.
Historical data are provided for 2002, 2007, and 2012 with forecasts for the years 2017 and 2022. “Demand” is defined as being equal to production plus imports minus exports. This is synonymous with terms such as “sales” and “consumption.” Data are presented in millions of US dollars and millions of pounds, and by product type and by resin (polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, polystyrene, and other plastics).
Information and data on the specialty plastic additives industry were obtained from a variety of primary and secondary sources. Consultations with officers and marketing/technical personnel of participating companies and other industry specialists were pursued. Secondary data were obtained from government, trade associations, and other private sources. Corporate information sources included annual reports, SEC Form10-K filings, product releases, prospectuses, and conversations with responsible officers within the companies themselves. Publications consulted for background information included Chemical & Engineering News, Chemical Week, Compounding World, ICIS Chemical Business, Modern Plastics, Plastics News, and Plastics Technology.