Global Monoethylene Glycol (MEG) Market: Snapshot
Over the recent past, the demand for polyester has spiked owing to a growing demand for apparel in the developing economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America. This domestic demand for polyester fiber is a result of the fast improving economies in the regions and the increasing disposable income among its middle class citizens. This is a direct driver for the growth in production of monoethylene glycol (MEG).
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With a large number of these economies lying in the tropical regions, the fact that polyester can remain intact in coarse and diverse weather conditions is a big plus point towards its consumption. The manufacture of polyester fibers in Asia Pacific has grown to such an extent that the textile makers in Europe and North America are finding it easier to stick to cheap imports over local manufacturing.
Another material that uses monoethylene glycol as a raw material and is in great demand is polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. The use of PET for beverage packaging and in pharmaceutical packaging has grown drastically recently, due to the massive demand for them in developing economies.
However, the volatile pricing of the raw materials required to produce monoethylene glycol is deterring many companies from entering or profiting from MEG production. This is because the raw materials are all currently derived from crude oil, one of the most sought-after resource in the world today and also a very volatile product.
All in all, the global market for monoethylene glycol is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2015 to 2023, in terms of revenue. This revenue is expected to reach US$26.93 bn by the end of 2016 and US$40.84 bn by 2023.
Asia Pacific Continues Showing Massive Demand for Monoethylene Glycol
Asia Pacific has by far the leading demand for monoethylene glycol among all key regions. By the end of 2023, Asia Pacific is expected to garner 69% of the globally produced volume of monoethylene glycol. China, India, and Taiwan are attributed as the leading consumers of monoethylene glycol, owing to their extremely high demand for polyester fiber and polyethylene terephthalate.
The demand for monoethylene glycol is also increasing at a significant rate in Latin America and MEA due to increasing consumption of polyester and PET. Meanwhile, the remand for monoethylene glycol in North America and Europe looks to be in a state of decline over slow economic growth and concerns over sustainability of the material.
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Extensive Use of Monoethylene Glycol in Production of Polyesters
A staggering volume of monoethylene glycol goes into the manufacture of polyesters across the world. By the end of 2023, 55.1% of the global monoethylene glycol volume will go into the manufacture of polyester fibers, followed by PET and antifreeze. Owing to its many physical properties and chemical stability, polyester is one of the more commonly found synthetic fibers in textiles in the world today. Most of it is attributed to the high demand from the Asia Pacific textile industry. However, there has been a reduction in its demand since 2014, mostly caused by heavy price cuts and oversupply of polyester fibers.
The popularity of PET has been growing in developing economies as a cheaper and lighter replacement for glass in the manufacture of bottles and packaging. The application scope of PET is growing at a very fast rate across emerging economies, significantly adding to the demand for monoethylene glycol.
The top producers of monoethylene glycol from a global standpoint include SABIC, The Dow Chemical Company, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Reliance Industries Limited, Nan Ya Plastics (Huizhou), and Zhenhai Refining & Chemicals.
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