Published January 2017
The resorcinol business is global. Markets are similar across world regions (except that the preponderance of meta- aminophenol production is located in Japan) and trade represents a major portion of world production. Resorcinol is used to produce resorcinol.formaldehyde (RF) resin to improve the adhesion of rubber and other materials in rubber products, wood adhesives, flame retardants, UV stabilizers, dyes, and others. Approximately 50% of resorcinol is used in rubber products. The other major uses are as a UV stabilizer and wood adhesive. All of the dominant consumption sectors are related to the automotive and construction industries, which have been greatly impacted by the slowdown in the world economy.
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 are increasing on a global basis. In this regard, China and the Far East are likely to constitute an attractive regional market for resorcinol throughout the foreseeable future.
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. In the United States and Western Europe, resorcinol is also used in diphosphate ester flame retardants. In Japan, the largest markets for resorcinol are rubber products and flame retardants. In developed regions, 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 25% of resorcinol is used for UV stabilizers). Outside of the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, the principal use of resorcinol is in the production of adhesive resins for tires.
Since almost 50% of resorcinol demand is for rubber products, the tire industry will continue to drive resorcinol consumption. Passenger tire production has also shifted to Asia. Therefore, regionally, Asia, especially China, will drive the consumption of resorcinol during 2016–21.
Almost all production of resorcinol.based UV stabilizers/absorbers, the second.largest resorcinol application (having recently surpassed wood adhesives), has shifted to Asia, where consumption of resorcinol for this application is forecast to grow at about 3.5% during 2016-21.
Wood adhesives for structural laminated beams (glulam) are made with resorcinol.based adhesives (the third-largest resorcinol market). New home construction drives RF resin consumption for wood adhesives. With the slow recovery of the global economy, prospects for growth in the construction industry are limited. An average annual growth rate of 2.8% is estimated for RF resins in wood adhesives during 2016–21.
From 2016 to 2021, world consumption of resorcinol is expected to grow at a 2.5% average annual rate, with the United States, Central and South America, and Western Europe exhibiting modest growth (0.8–1.4%). Indian and Chinese consumption is expected to grow at higher levels of 6.9% and 4.5%, respectively. The main drivers are tire production and consumption, adhesives, and dye production, which are increasing in India and China.