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Environment, automotive seen as drivers of polyurethane market growth

April 24, 2012
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The global polyurethane (PU) product market revenue reached $40.6 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $57.4 billion by 2016, growing at a CAGR of 7.2% from 2011 to 2016. Europe is expected to have the second largest market share after Asia Pacific by 2016, according to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, “Polyurethanes Market Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share & Forecast (2009-2016).

The report includes the following points:

In the recent years polyurethanes market has witnessed double digit growth rate due to its broad range of applications such as rigid and flexible foams, paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants among many others. Polyurethane is mainly used as a substitute for metal, rubber, paint, cotton and other plastics.

Key drivers of the polyurethane market include its environmental sustainability characteristics and healthy growth in the automotive industry. The key restraint in the polyurethane market is elevated pricing of raw materials such as crude oil, benzene and toluene.

MDI and TDI are the raw materials used to produce rigid polyurethane foams and flexible polyurethane foams respectively. Hence, prices of polyurethanes are directly dependent on raw material prices and indirectly driven by the crude oil and downstream feedstock prices. The recent instability in crude oil prices has shown ripple effect on prices of MDI, TDI and eventually polyurethanes.

Key market player Bayer Material Science (Germany) announced a hike of USD 429 per ton in polyurethane prices in May 2011.

The alternatives to polyurethane such as spring and other fibers can impact the polyurethane market to some extent due to increasing prices of PU.

Among all the geographical regions, Asia Pacific is leading in terms of production and consumption of polyurethane products. Asia Pacific is emerging as a highly competitive market, while the opportunities in this segment are growing due to the evolving economy and rising standards of living. Increasing applications of polyurethanes in medical devices have drawn attention of major market players to focus on developing renewable feedstock for polyurethanes.

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