Published August 2016
The C1-C4 alkyl acetates discussed in this report include methyl acetate, ethyl acetate, n-propyl acetate, isopropyl acetate, n-butyl acetate and isobutyl acetate. Surface coatings and printing inks account for most consumption of C1-C4 alkyl acetates worldwide; the exception is methyl acetate, which is used nearly exclusively as a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of acetic anhydride. Together, ethyl acetate, n-butyl acetate, and methyl acetate account for about 93% of the total global consumption of alkyl acetates.
The following pie charts show world consumption of ethyl and n-butyl acetates:
Demand for most downstream markets for C1-C4 alkyl acetates is greatly influenced by general economic conditions. Consumption of C1-C4 alkyl acetates in surface coatings depends heavily on construction/remodeling activity, automotive production and refinish activity, and original equipment manufacture (OEM). Demand for C1-C4 alkyl acetates in inks tends to be more recession-resistant, as most rotogravure and flexographic inks are used in publications and food and beverage packaging.
Market dynamics in acetic acid supply and demand will always play a vital role in the alkyl acetates market. Methanol carbonylation will be the leading process to produce acetic acid.
China continues to be the largest consumer of ethyl acetate, with a robust growth rate of 4.6% estimated for 2015–20. Consumption of ethyl acetate is driven largely by its use in surface coating applications, followed by printing inks and process/extraction solvents.
Western Europe and the United States represent smaller and more mature markets than China, with estimated growth rates averaging 1.4% and 2% per year for ethyl acetate and 1.7% and 1.8% per year for n-butyl acetate, respectively.
Demand for alkyl acetates in India looks promising, as it is expected to have strong growth in domestic consumption and exports during 2015–20. Although Indian capacity for acetic acid will increase significantly by 2020, the region will continue to import acetic acid to feed its surging demand. India is a net exporter of ethyl acetate and a net importer of n-butyl acetate.
An average annual growth rate of about 3% for the next five years is forecast for ethyl acetate globally.
n-Butyl acetate consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.0% during 2010–15, mainly because of strong growth in Asia, particularly in China. Globally, an average annual growth rate of 2.8% is forecast for the next five years.