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Published: May 2012
On a global basis, resorcinol is at or near the mature phase of its product life cycle; however, growth prospects for resorcinol differ somewhat in each region. Moreover, with the exception of flame retardants, it is still possible to identify a growth component in each major end-use market for resorcinol. For example, growth in the tire and construction industries is related to population and economic activity and both of the latter are increasing on a worldwide basis. In this regard, China and the Far East are likely to constitute an attractive regional market for resorcinol throughout the foreseeable future.
Consumption of resorcinol grew at an average annual rate of almost 11% during 2008–2011 in China and other Asian countries combined, despite negative or limited economic growth in the developed regions caused by the global recession from year-end 2007 to mid-2009.
Four producers account for 94% of the world capacity for resorcinol: Sumitomo Chemical Co., INDSPEC Chemical Corporation, Shanghai Amino-Chem Co. and Mitsui Chemicals.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of resorcinol:
In the United States and Western Europe, resorcinol is used primarily in the production of specialty adhesives and/or adhesive improvers for tires and wood products. Resorcinol-based resins are used in these applications because of their resistance to high temperatures and their durability under mechanical stress. Resorcinol is also used in these regions in diphosphate ester flame retardants. In Japan, the largest markets for resorcinol are rubber products and flame retardants. In the developed regions of the world, smaller amounts of resorcinol are also used as a chemical intermediate in the production of UV stabilizers, functional and textile dyes, pharmaceuticals, explosives and herbicides (in China approximately 30% of resorcinol is used for UV stabilizers). Outside the United States, Western Europe and Japan, the principal use of resorcinol is in the production of adhesive resins for tires.
Since approximately 55% of resorcinol demand is for rubber products, the tire industry will continue to drive resorcinol consumption. Regionally, China will drive the consumption of resorcinol during 2011-2016.
From 2011 to 2016, world consumption of resorcinol is expected to grow at an average annual rate of just over 4%, with the United States, Western Europe and Japan exhibiting modest growth (1.0–1.5%) and the developing regions growing at 3.5–5.0%. The exception is China, where consumption is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 8.0%. Tire production is growing significantly in China. Many major tire manufacturers closed plants in the United States during the recession while tire production continued to escalate in China.