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The global acrylonitrile market size is projected to expand significantly in the near future, and grow at a CAGR of 3.8% over the forecast period (2019 - 2027).

Market Overview

Acrylonitrile is a volatile, clear liquid with a pungent odour, although, in the presence of impurities, it takes a faint yellow tint. Acrylonitrile is not a naturally occurring compound in the Earth's atmosphere, and is produced through catalytic ammoxidation of propylene. Its chemical formula is cCH2 CHCN, and it is classified as an organic compound owing to the presence of hydrogen atoms and carbon in its composition. Acrylonitrile can be polymerized into a substance called 'polyacrylonitrile', and the fibres of polyacrylonitrile can be used for producing a range of products such as fishing poles, bicycle frames, and tennis rackets.

Market Dynamics

Acrylonitrile has a wide range of industrial applications such as in the production of resins, rubber, elastomers, plastic, synthetic fibres, and carbon fibres used in the manufacture of drones, aircrafts and other equipment in the aerospace and defense industry. Demand for acrylonitrile is driven by the acrylic fiber industry, which is a key ingredient in the composition of acrylic fiber. Acrylic fibres are processed further into clothing (socks, hats, and sweaters), and are also used as precursors in the manufacture of carbon fibres which can be used in filtration systems and in the composite industry. In addition to acrylic fibres, acrylonitrile has another major application in the manufacturing of resins, thermoplastics, and rubber. The compound also has the ability to provide durability, heat resistance, and strength for application in end use industries such as construction, consumer goods, automotive, and wastewater treatment. The global acrylonitrile market is expected to be driven by significant demand from the construction industry in the near future. Also, growing awareness regarding wastewater treatment is likely to result in increasing consumption of acrylonitrile products in the industry.

However, factors such as occupational hazards associated with acrylonitrile are expected to hamper growth of the market. Exposure (inhalation or oral) to acrylonitrile has been found to cause nausea, headaches, impaired judgment, respiratory issues, and dizziness resulting from irritation of the mucous membranes. Studies suggest that acrylonitrile may be a potential human carcinogen and increase chances of lung and prostate cancer. Moreover, it is highly inflammable and toxic at low doses which poses an environmental risks. These factors are estimated to restrict the market growth over the forecast period.

Market Outlook

Asia Pacific is projected to witness the highest growth in terms of market share owing to the growing construction and automotive industries in countries such as China and India. Furthermore, there is a large demand for acrylic resins from countries such as Japan, India, China, and other emerging nations such as Taiwan and Malaysia. Europe is expected to emerge as the second largest market for acrylonitrile, owing to high demand for acrylonitrile from Western Europe. Growth of the automobile industry in Europe is another contributing factor to the overall growth of the acrylonitrile market in the region. Presence of industries such as pharmaceuticals and composite, as well as high demand for wastewater treatment in North America is expected to facilitate growth of the acrylonitrile market in the region. Currently, U.S. is leading the demand for acrylonitrile, however Canada is likely to reveal greater demand over the span of the next few years.

Key Players

Key players in the market include Sinopec, DSM, Mitsubishi Corporation, Ascend Performance Materials, INEOS Group AG, and Asahi Kasei Chemicals among others.

Key Developments

Several key players are focused on developing inorganic and organic growth strategies such as mergers & acquisition and capacity expansion of the plant in order to enhance their presence. For instance,

  • In June 2019, INEOS, one of the leading manufacturer of specialty chemicals, petrochemicals and oil products, announced to invest US$ 2 billion in its manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia. The new acrylonitrile plant with the capacity of 425,000 tonnes, will use the company’s leading technology and catalyst.the units will begin its production in 2025.
  • In February 2011, Asahi Kasei Chemicals, key player in specialty chemicals, construct acrylonitrile plant in Korea with the capacity of 245,000 tonnes per year.
  • In July 2015, Royal DSM, leading player in nutrition, health and materials, announced partnership with CVC Capital Partners (CVC), an investment advisory firm, for DSM’s activities in Polymer Intermediates (Acrylonitrile and Caprolactam) and composite resin.
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