Published January 2016
This report primarily covers uncoupled cyclohexanol/cyclohexanone (not captively consumed). Most cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone are captively consumed on site for the production of adipic acid and caprolactam (over 95%), so only a small amount enters the world’s trade markets (cyclohexane, a precursor, is more widely traded). Less than 4% is consumed in markets other than nylon. This includes use as solvents for paints and dyes, in pesticides, and as an intermediate for pharmaceuticals, films, soaps, and coatings.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone:
The major world consumption areas are China, Western Europe, Taiwan, and South Korea. Use for caprolactam production accounts for the most significant part of cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone consumption, at around 59%, while the remaining demand is mainly for adipic acid production and use in solvents.
China is the largest consumer of cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone, accounting for 43% of the total in 2014, driven by the expansive nylon production in the country.
In the United States, more than 95% of cyclohexanone and cyclohexanol is consumed captively as intermediates in the production of adipic acid and caprolactam. Adipic acid and caprolactam are, in turn, consumed primarily in the production of fibers and resins based on nylon 66 and nylon 6, respectively. As a result, cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone production and consumption follow the nylon fibers and resins industries.
Since 2004, US nylon fiber production has declined mainly as a result of a decline in the carpeting and rugs market, which accounts for the majority of US nylon fibers use. Furthermore, imports of lower-cost finished goods from Asia, mainly China, have also led to a decline in the apparel industry where nylon fibers are used. US nylon fiber consumption is expected to grow at an estimated average annual rate of 0.7% during 2014–19 as a result of slow economic recovery and its effect on the housing and construction industry. Nylon resins growth, and thus, cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone growth, will continue in some areas such as film and coatings, electronics and accessories, and consumer and business goods.
In Japan, captive consumption of cyclohexanone and cyclohexanol accounts for nearly all consumption. Japanese caprolactam production is derived from cyclohexane, and cyclohexanone/cyclohexanol is an intermediate in production of caprolactam. Caprolactam is a primary precursor to nylon 6 production. Consumption of cyclohexanol/cyclohexanone is directly proportional to growth in caprolactam demand, which in turn is dependent on nylon 6 fibers demand. In Japan, the cyclohexane that is available in the merchant market (uncoupled) is consumed primarily in the solvents industry.
Nylon resin production drives cyclohexanol/cyclohexanone consumption in China and most of the product is back-integrated to caprolactam, which is integrated with cyclohexane/benzene production. Uncoupled cyclohexanol/cyclohexanone is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 0.2% from 2014 to 2019. Much of this demand is sustained by its consumption in caprolactam (69% of total demand in 2014), which is the main precursor to supply the expansive nylon production in China. Other chemical demand includes cyclohexylamines; isobornylcyclohexanol, which is used in the perfumery industry; polyester polyols; and other small chemical applications.