Carboxylic acids are organic compounds with high boiling point. These are made up of two functional groups: carbonyl and hydroxyl. Carboxylic acid is used in several applications such as food & beverages, animal feed, pharmaceuticals, personal care & cosmetics, consumer goods, lubricants, and agriculture. It possesses a strong odor, especially volatile derivatives.
The market for carboxylic acids is largely driven by growth of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) in the food packaging industry and high demand for stearic, butyric, and valeric acid in the personal care & cosmetics industry. Rising usage of organic acids as growth promoters in the animal feed industry is likely to boost demand for carboxylic acid. However, stringent regulations regarding the production of petro-based carboxylic acids are expected to hamper the global carboxylic acids market. Furthermore, easy availability of substitutes in various end-use industries is likely to inhibit market growth.
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In terms of volume, acetic acid was the largest product segment of the global carboxylic acids market in 2014. It is majorly used in the production of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), PTA, acetic anhydride, etc. The segment is anticipated to exhibit the fastest growth rate from 2015 to 2023. Stearic acid, a straight chain saturated fatty acid, is extensively used in adhesives & sealants, agrochemicals, chemical intermediates, additives, pigments, and surface active agents.
Stearic acid held significant share of the global carboxylic acids market in 2014. The citric acid segment is expected to expand at an above average rate during the forecast period owing to increasing usage of the acid to impart tart flavor in the food & beverages industry. Formic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid are projected to expand at a moderate rate due to high demand for these acids in animal feed and silage & grain preservation applications. Isovaleric acid, known for its strong sweaty odor, and hence used in wine manufacturing in smaller quantities.
In terms of volume, consumer goods was the largest end-user segment of the global carboxylic acids market in 2014. Other end-use industries such as textile, leather, chemical intermediate, and agrochemicals are projected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period. Carboxylic acids are largely used in the production of their derivatives such as stearates, ester solvents, and ester lubricants.
In terms of volume, lubricants segment accounted for significant share of the global carboxylic acids market in 2014. Carboxylic acids such as caproic acid, stearic acid, and valeric acid are widely used in the manufacture of lubricants. Carboxylic acid is used as an active ingredient in several drug formulations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anticoagulants, antibiotics, and cholesterol-lowering statins. Growth in geriatric population is estimated to drive the pharmaceuticals segment during the forecast period. Similarly, rising demand for bio-based personal care & cosmetic products is boosting the carboxylic acid market, especially in developed countries.
Asia Pacific constituted the largest share of 56.04% of the global carboxylic acid market in 2014. Food & beverages, consumer goods, lubricants, and others are the most lucrative segments of the carboxylic acid market in the region. Asia Pacific is also emerging as the new epicenter for the production of bio-based and synthetic chemicals. China leads the market, with the addition of new capacities for carboxylic acids such as valeric acid, isovaleric acid, and isobutyric acid. North America is expected to outpace Europe by 2023 due to increasing demand for carboxylic acids in food & beverages and pharmaceutical industries. The carboxylic acids market in Europe is expected to expand at a sluggish rate during the forecast period. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are anticipated to offer immense growth opportunities for the carboxylic acids market in the next few years.
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The global carboxylic acids market is highly fragmented; various small players operate in Asia Pacific. Major players in the global carboxylic acids market include Celanese Corporation, BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company, and Jiangsu Sopo (Group) Co. Ltd.