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Insights into the Global Trends that Shape Tomorrow's Chemical Industry

| Author / Editor: Anuradha Wadhwani / Dominik Stephan

Global sales of chemicals were valued at US$5.21 trillion in 2013, according to the American Chemistry Council
Global sales of chemicals were valued at US$5.21 trillion in 2013, according to the American Chemistry Council (Picture: Transparency Market Research)

A snapshot of the emerging trends in the global chemical industry – With multiple emerging regions now steering the course of the global chemicals industry, their internal dynamics will likely determine how the industry shapes up in the near future.

Having grown at a momentous pace over the last two decades, global sales of chemicals were valued at US $ 5.21 trillion in 2013, according to the American Chemistry Council. We have long moved out of the age where traditional markets exercised an authoritative influence over the chemicals industry.

With multiple emerging regions now steering the course of the global chemicals industry, their internal dynamics will likely determine how the industry shapes up in the near future. Here is a snapshot of the key trends in important chemical trading regions across the globe:

United States: Chemicals Industry Gathers Steam

In 2013, the United States’ chemicals industry reported sales amounting to US $ 811.6 billion. The US contributes to over 15 per cent of the global chemicals trade, and has traditionally been a hub of innovation with about 17 per cent of all patents registered in the US being related to chemistry. Light vehicles and housing are the two largest markets for the chemicals industry in the US, and with both markets reporting an uptick after a slump, the future looks promising.

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The US surplus in chemicals trade will surpass US $ 77 billion by 2019, driven notably by polymers. Going by the acceleration in the end-use markets mentioned above, the American chemicals industry will report strong growth in organic chemicals, specialty chemicals, synthetic rubber and plastic resins.

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Canada: US Shale Gas Boom Augurs Well for Canadian Chemicals

The country is a key source of C1 and C2 chemicals including: Polyethylene, MEG, styrene, urea and ammonia. Canada also trades extensively in PTA and butadiene but relies on imports of C4 rubbers and polypropylene. About 76 per cent of all chemicals from Canada are exported to the US; it imports 60 per cent from the US.

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