Ceresana Research expects a dynamic development of the global demand for propylene, namely an increase of more than 20 mln tons by 2017. An important factor, which will impact the global propylene market, is the massive capacity expansions for propylene and downstream products in the Middle East and China. Sales of propylene will surpass the current 2008 peak value of over 90 billion US$ as soon as in 2012.
Middle Eastern countries exhibit the largest increases in propylene production and demand. We expect that supply and demand in these countries will have doubled by 2014. However, the Asia-Pacific region will continue to dominate the market and generate more than 45% of all demand. China is rising to become the greatest propylene consumer worldwide and will most likely edge out the U.S. to the second place in 2011. The most important buyers of propylene include manufacturers of polypropylene who account for nearly two thirds of all demand. Polypropylene is a plastic with a very wide range of applications and is, for example, needed for the manufacturing of films, packaging, caps and closures as well as for individual parts for the electrical and automobile industry. We anticipate that producers of polypropylene will continue to strengthen their dominant position by 2017. The second-largest propylene market consists of producers of acrylonitrile, followed by propylene oxide. The production of cumene accounts for about 5.5% of the global demand for propylene. Other applications make up about 12.5%. Acrylonitrile is mainly used to produce acrylic fibers, which are processed into textiles. The derivatives of propylene oxide are needed as raw materials for the manufacturing of products like polyurethane, lacquers and adhesives, polyester resins, cooling agents, antifreeze, and solvents. Cumene is mainly used to manufacture phenol and acetone, and is therefore also a pre-product for bisphenol A, phenol resins, caprolactam, and methyl methacrylate.