Published November 2014
The global monochloroacetic acid (MCA) market will continue to be driven by the Chinese market. China currently accounts for more than half of global MCA consumption and an average annual growth rate of just over 4% is expected for 2014–2019, as relatively strong downstream demand for MCA will continue.
Consumption of MCA to produce glycine constitutes the largest market, with about 31% of total global MCA demand. Glycine is used to produce glyphosate, an herbicide used worldwide. China is the largest global producer and exporter of glyphosate and over 60% of its glyphosate capacity is glycine- and MCA-based.
The second-largest market for MCA is for use in carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), which accounted for about 26% of total MCA consumption in 2014. MCA consumption is expected to grow at an average annual rate of just over 3% in this field.
The following pie chart shows consumption of MCA by major region:
MCA consumption for downstream products 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)/MCPA (herbicides) has increased in recent years. India will be the fastest growing market for this end use. MCA will also experience strong growth for use in cyanoacetic acid and other chemical intermediates. Downstream applications include personal care items, oil drilling, pharmaceuticals, surfactants, and pesticides.
MCA is also used for surfactants; this is a growing market in Central Europe and the CIS because of increasing use of liquid soap and shampoo in these regions. The betaine-type surfactants are synthesized from sodium chloroacetate. North America is the largest market for betaine.
In the United States, MCA consumption has experienced some recovery since the downturn, increasing steadily with increased CMC use in oil field applications since 2010. Economic recovery has led to an increase in the use of MCA in the United States, which currently represents about 8% of the global market.
In 2014, Dow received approval from the USDA for its genetically modified corn and soybean seeds known as Enlist, which are resistant to 2,4-D; the modified 2,4-D Enlist Duo herbicide also received EPA approval. Enlist Duo is a combination of two herbicides with 2,4-D and glyphosate. The Enlist Weed Control System, developed by Dow AgroSciences (part of Dow Chemical Company), was registered for restricted use in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in October 2014. In 2013, the system was approved by Canada for the same uses. The promotion and use of Enlist Duo herbicide will stimulate the use of 2,4-D and glyphosate in North America.