Published March 2015
World consumption of aniline grew at an average annual rate of 3% during 2006–10, and by nearly 7% per year from 2009 to 2014. Aniline consumption was driven by the strong recovery in most regions and countries since 2010, and growth in MDI production. Strong Asian demand for all applications of MDI has boosted world aniline demand in recent years. World consumption of aniline is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of about 6.5% during 2014–19.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of aniline:
MDI production accounted for over 81% of world aniline consumption in 2014; other large applications include use as a chemical intermediate for rubber-processing chemicals, dyes, and pigments. Since most MDI producers are captive in aniline and its precursor nitrobenzene, typically in integrated units, nearly all MDI expansions result in increased production and consumption of nitrobenzene/aniline. MDI has been the driving force behind world growth in aniline demand since 1982. Future demand for aniline will continue to depend largely on MDI requirements.
MDI is consumed in polyurethane (PU) foam, both rigid and flexible. Most rigid PU foam is used in construction and appliances, while flexible PU foam is used primarily in furniture and transportation. As a result, consumption of nitrobenzene/aniline/MDI largely follows the patterns of the leading world economies and depends heavily on construction/remodeling activity (residential and nonresidential), automotive production, and original equipment manufacturing. MDI growth has been driven by "green" initiatives, sustainability, and the effort to lower emissions of CO2.
The Middle East and China are forecast to experience the largest increases for aniline demand during 2014–19, with average annual growth rates above 10%, followed by the United States (4.6%), India (3.6%), and Western Europe (2.7%). Central Europe, Japan, and South Korea are expected to have small declines (less than 1% per year) in aniline demand from 2014 to 2019. Additional MDI capacity/production is the predominant factor for increased production and consumption of aniline.
Continuing rapid demand growth in some regions, particularly in China, India, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America, has resulted in continued expansion of integrated nitrobenzene/aniline/MDI units, which will balance out moderate/negative growth in aniline markets in Japan, Central Europe, and South Korea.