Ethylene Market Development and Demand Forecast to 2020

The global ethylene market is driven by growth in the use of polyethylene mainly for consumables; ethylene glycol/oxide for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins for PET fiber, bottles and other packaging; and ethylene dichloride for PVC plastic uses in construction and pipe. Polyethylene, the largest ethylene derivative, accounts for majority of the global ethylene consumption. Markets of polyethylene include film, packaging, containers and articles for home and light industrial use.

The increasing applications of ethylene intermediates in various industries are expected to drive the demand for ethylene. Ethylene oxide is mainly used to produce ethylene glycol which is a pre-product for polyester. The basic raw materials for making polymers such as polypropylene, polyethylene, butyl rubber and acrylics among others which are obtained from ethylene, make ethylene a major driver for chemical production.

Ethylene is a colorless flammable gas with a musky odor. It is the simplest alkene and unsaturated hydrocarbon after acetylene. It is extensively used in agriculture as a plant hormone to ripen fruits; it is also used in the chemical industry to produce ethyl benzene, polyethylene, ethylene dichloride, and ethylene oxide among others. The ethylene production methods include steam cracking of paraffinic hydrocarbons or by separation from refinery gas. Industrial reactions of ethylene include alkylation, halogenation, polymerization, oxidation, hydro halogenation and others.

The production of textile fibers is growing significantly, especially in Asia-Pacific. In addition, producers of ethylene oxide have already been able to profit from the worldwide growing substitution of glass by PET bottles and containers. Furthermore, ethylene is used as a welding gas and as an anesthetic agent.

On the basis of applications of ethylene, the Global ethylene market has been  segmented into high density polyethylene (HDPE),  low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), and intermediates of petrochemicals, mainly used for the production of plastics. The most important of these are ethylene dichloride and ethylbenzene and ethylene oxide.

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