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Published: September 2010
Epichlorohydrin is used primarily in the production of epoxy resins. Dow is the largest global producer of epichlorohydrin (with plants in the United States and Western Europe) followed by Shandong Haili in China and Hexion (with plants in the U.S. and Western Europe).
The global economic recession that began in late 2008 and continued through 2009 significantly affected epichlorohydrin demand. Epoxy resin demand, closely tied to the overall health of the economy, declined in 2008 and decreased significantly in 2009 in the developed regions. The overall health of the world economy will continue to play a major role in future demand for epichlorohydrin, as its primary derivative's major end-use markets include automotive, construction and electrical/electronic applications.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of epichlorohydrin:
Demand is expected to show above-average growth (approximately 3.5% per year) over the next five years in the Americas and Europe. However, in Asia and the Middle East, epichlorohydrin demand will be considerably higher (7.5–8.0% per year), driven by epoxy resin production. Overall, total epichlorohydrin consumption will grow at an average annual rate of slightly over 6%.
High energy costs and decent demand throughout the first three quarters of 2008 resulted in higher prices before weakened demand and low feedstock costs brought market prices down in 2009. However, major producers started implementing price increases in the latter part of 2009/early 2010 on significantly stronger demand, higher raw material costs, and a tighter supply situation. Prices will likely remain relatively high throughout 2010 (even as raw material costs decrease) because of tight supply.