Global Bromine Market - Insights
Bromine is a nonmetal element and is a heavy, unstable, mobile, reddish-brown colored liquid that has an unpleasant odor, the vapor of which irritates the eyes and throat. Bromine is commercially extracted from brine pools, mostly in the U.S, Israel and China. Bromine is found in seawater as a salt of sodium, however, in smaller amounts as compared to chloride. Bromine is not considered essential to human health, however in the form of KBr or NaBr, it has anti-seizure properties and is considered effective in the treatment of hyperthyroid conditions. Bromine in liquid and vapor state, is highly toxic and is associated with severe irritation and burning of the eyes, respiratory organs, skin, and the gastro-intestinal tract. This poses as a major factor restraining growth of the market.
Bromine was traditionally used in the production of ethylene dibromide, a lead scavenger that is utilized in the production of antiknocking compounds in petrol. However, the use of bromine for the same has been reduced due to concerns over the amount of lead in the environment. Bromine is also used to manufacture fumigants (methyl bromide) for agricultural purposes, as flame proofing agents, for purification of water and dyes, as well as the production of photographic chemicals. The flame retardants segment held a dominant position in the application segment in the global bromine market in 2016 and are expected to continue its dominance throughout the forecast period. Bromine and the products related to bromine is used as a flame retardant in end use industries such as oil and gas, industrial and construction amongst others. The large number of fire accidents globally is boosting the demand for flame retardants, which drives the market for bromine globally. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2011 and 2015, municipal fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 37,910 fires at industrial or manufacturing properties every year with annual losses from these fires estimated at 16 civilian deaths, 273 civilian injures, and US$ 1.2 billion in direct property damage totally.
Figure1. Global Bromine Market Share (%), By Derivative Type, 2016
Among derivative types, organobromide was the largest segment in the global bromine market, in 2016. Organobromide accounted for a market share of 31.23% in terms of value in the global bromine market in 2016 and is expected to retain its dominance throughout the forecast period. Organobromide is used largely in flame retardants and in synthesis of fumigants. Drugs containing organobromides are used in the treatment of the disease pneumonia and cocaine addiction.
Some of the major players operate in the bromine market are Israel Chemicals Limited, Albemarle Corporation, Chemtura Corporation, Tosoh Corporation, Tata Chemicals Ltd, Gulf Resources Inc., TETRA Technologies, Inc., Hindustan Salts Limited, Honeywell International Inc., and Perekop Bromine Factory.
Bromine is a deep-red oily liquid with sharp odor at room temperature. It is obtained naturally as organobromide compound or bromide salt, which is mainly found in salt lakes, inland seas, sea water, brine wells, rock, and the earth’s crust. It is flame retardant and can control mercury emission. Increasing utilization of bromine in various applications such as pesticides, oil & gas drilling, and BFR (brominated flame retardant) production, is one of the major factors driving growth of the market. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), the global leading application for bromine was the production of BFRs, which accounted for 41% of the total market share in 2015.
However, bromine is highly corrosive and causes irritation to the eyes and throat, which in turn is restraining growth of the market. Furthermore, increasing cost of bromine is negatively impacting the growth of bromine market. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), in 2015, the bromine prices were ranged from US$ 3,400 -US$ 5,400 per ton, which increased to US$ 4,330.5 - 5,314.7 per ton in 2017.
Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the bromine market, owing to increasing demand for bromine and its compounds in agriculture. The growing agrochemicals industry in turn, is increasing the demand for bromine for use as soil fumigants and other fumigants to prevent pests. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF)—a Trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India—the agrochemical market in India is expected to grow at 7.5 % annually, with a growing domestic demand of 6.5% per annum, to reach US$ 6.3 billion by 2020.
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