Published 31 January 2020
Ethylbenzene (EB) is a highly flammable, colorless liquid that has a sweet aroma similar to that of gasoline. Nearly all ethylbenzene produced in the world is used in the manufacture of styrene; therefore, ethylbenzene demand is determined primarily by styrene production. Styrene is used mostly in polymer production for polystyrene, acrylonitrilebutadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) resins, styrene-butadiene elastomers and latexes, and unsaturated polyester resins. The major styrene industry markets include packaging, electrical/electronic/appliances, construction, and consumer products. Consumption of ethylbenzene for uses other than the production of styrene is estimated to be around 2%. These applications include use as a solvent and, on occasion, the production of diethylbenzene, acetophenone, and ethyl anthraquinone.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of ethylbenzene:
In 2019, total ethylbenzene demand was approximately 32.1 million metric tons, corresponding to a 1.8% average annual increase over the last five years. Of that amount, 408,000 metric tons of ethylbenzene fell into the Other category, where ethylbenzene is consumed in solvent uses, and occasionally in the production of diethylbenzene, acetophenone, and ethyl anthraquinone. Northeast Asia, North America, Western Europe, Central Europe, and South America were the only regions where ethylbenzene was consumed for Other applications in 2019.
Polystyrene (PS) is styrene’s largest demand sector, accounting for 34% of global styrene demand. The other main end uses for styrene and their shares in 2019 include expandable polystyrene (22%), ABS resins (18%), unsaturated polyester resins (6%), SB latex (5%), and SB rubber (4%).
Polystyrene is broken into two types: general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). Generalpurpose polystyrene is a clear crystal polymer that can have different properties, such as melt flow index and chemical resistance, among others. High-impact polystyrene contains about 7% polybutadiene, which is grafted onto the styrene polymer. For more specific details, refer to the CEHStyrene report.
Northeast Asia is the dominant player in the ethylbenzene industry, accounting for 47% and 49% of global capacity and consumption, respectively. China is the main driver, accounting for 57% of regional capacity and 53% of regional demand as of 2019. China will also be the fastest-growing country in the forecast for ethylbenzene, with an expected 7.6% average annual increase between 2019 and 2024. The CIS and Baltic States will be a very distant second, with an expected average annual growth rate of about 1.7% over the next five years.
There were a total of 89 ethylbenzene producers across the world in 2017. The top 15 producers represented more than 58% of the total capacity in 2019. INEOS Styrolution is the largest producer, with capacity located in North America and Western Europe and around 7.1% capacity share in 2019. Royal Dutch/Shell and SINOPEC are the next two largest, accounting for about 6.7% and 6.2% capacity shares, respectively.
Global ethylbenzene demand is projected to grow at about 2% per year during the forecast period.
For more detailed information, see the table of contents, shown below.
IHS Markit’s Chemical Economics Handbook - Ethylbenzene is the comprehensive and trusted guide for anyone seeking information on this industry. This latest report details global and regional information, including
IHS Markit’s Chemical Economics Handbook - Ethylbenzene has been compiled using primary interviews with key suppliers and organizations, and leading representatives from the industry in combination with IHS Markit’s unparalleled access to upstream and downstream market intelligence and expert insights into industry dynamics, trade, and economics.
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