Increasing demand of chlor-alkali products in the emerging markets, high demand from end-use industries, and high existing production capacities of chlor-alkali products is driving the chlor-alkali market. Growth in the demand of EDC/PVC is driven by the growing construction, automotive, and personal care industries, globally. Growth of the chlor-alkali market is backed by growth in its niche applications, which include textile, water treatment, and various others. The market for chlor-alkali will continue to be governed by such factors in the future.
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Three main products, namely, chlorine, caustic soda, and soda ash mainly characterize the chlor-alkali industry. These chlor-alkali products are further used in various applications, which include EDC/PVC, organic and inorganic chemicals, paper & pulp, water treatment, glass, metallurgy and other applications. In 2015, EDC/PVC application of chlorine had the largest market share among all the applications of chlorine.
The shutting down of all mercury cell-based plants is set to have an effect on the European market. Not all plants are planned to be modified into membrane or diaphragm technology. This is expected to increase the imports in the European region, which is still reeling from the Eurozone crisis.
Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa are the fastest-growing chlor-alkali markets. The rising per capita consumption of chlorine, caustic soda, and soda ash has made these regions as hotspot for the chlor-alkali market. Increasing industrialization in India, Southeast Asia, and China has made Asia-Pacific the market leader, in terms of demand as well as growth. The Middle East has always enjoyed cheaper electricity tariffs and is strategically located to cater to the needs for export markets in Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe.
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In addition, the fastest-growing application for caustic soda is projected to be textile. For soda ash, glass accounted for the largest share, its demand in 2015 was over 50% of the total soda ash market. Increased demand from the packaging & container industry has spurred the demand for glass, globally. With the increase in demand from construction, automotive, and other industries, the demand for EDC/PVC is set to increase at a significant rate. EDC/PVC was also the largest application segment for chlorine.
Many companies in this industry have expanded their production capacities and also involved in other market penetration activities. Olin Corporation (U.S.), Solvay (Belgium), Tata Chemicals Limited (India), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (U.S.), Axiall Corporation (U.S.), AkzoNobel N.V. (Netherlands), Formosa Plastic Corporation (Taiwan), Hanwha Chemical Corporation (Korea), Tosoh Corporation (Japan), Nirma Limited (India), and Tronox (U.S.) were the most active companies.