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Published: September 2010
China, Japan and the United States continue to be the largest producing and consuming countries for polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) worldwide. The high production level in Japan and in the United States is supported by large exports. China produces and consumes about half of world consumption.
PVOH is used neat as a textile warp size, as an adhesive and an additive to adhesives, in paper manufacture primarily as a binder, and as a polymerization aid. PVOH is used as an intermediate in the manufacture of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) resin, although it is not required that the PVOH be fully refined during the processing from vinyl acetate monomer to polyvinyl butyral.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of polyvinyl alcohols:
About 77% of PVOH capacity is located in Asian countries. The top five producers of PVOH accounted for nearly 41% of world capacity and the next three producers accounted for an additional 9% of world capacity. China alone accounted for 46% of world capacity.
Manufacture of polyvinyl butyral is the largest consumer of polyvinyl alcohol in the United States and Western Europe; PVOH usage as a polymerization aid is the largest market in China; and vinylon fiber production dominates demand in Japan. Global PVOH consumption is expected to increase at an overall rate of about 3.5% annually between 2009 and 2014.
Besides use as a polymerization aid, the major markets for consumption of PVOH in China are for textile sizing agents, architecture, fibers, paper coatings and adhesives. PVB resins and film are supplied primarily by imports. Demand is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of about 2.5% from 2009 to 2014.
The polyvinyl alcohol market is at continued high risk for consolidation of producers as new plant capacity will be added in China. Small regional producers are at risk for consolidation or closure, especially if they supply commodity products.