A new report by Transparency Market Research predicts that the global petrochemical market will reach $791 billion in 2018, with an average compound annual growth rate of 6.7 percent between 2012 and 2018.

In 2011 the petrochemical market was valued at $472 billion, the report found. Ethylene accounted for 28 percent of the global petrochemical market, meaning that it was the most consumed subcategory in 2011. In total, global petrochemical consumption reached 436.86 million tons in 2011.

The biggest petrochemical market in terms of regional demand was China, accounting for 25 percent of the global consumption. Transparency Market Research anticipates that the Asian country will retain its position as a world leader though 2018, as demand for petrochemicals will continue to grow faster than in other parts of the world.

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By 2018 the global consumption of petrochemicals in terms of volume is forecast to expand to 627.5 million tons, growing at a compound annual rate of 5.4 percent. Over the next few years the market will be driven by increased demand in end-use industries, such as construction, plastics, textiles and healthcare.

In addition, the growth of the petrochemical market will be fueled by more favorable operating conditions in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Governments in India and China are expected to take steps to support petrochemical production, which will further boost the market, the report said.