China Dominating MarketIn 2013, Chinese processors consumed about the same amount of butanol as Western Europe and North America taken together. Ceresana forecasts demand for butanol on the saturated markets of Western Europe and North America to increase by only 0.4% and 0.5% p.a. respectively until 2021. As development in industrialized Asian countries such as Japan will falter as well, China will expand its dominating role on the market for butanol even further. The main motor of this growth is the construction sector, followed by the growth markets wood processing and the automotive industry. Demand for butanol on the part of Chinese processors is projected to amount to almost 1.64 million tonnes in 2021.
Contested Export MarketsFaced with an only moderate increase of demand or even a decline of market volume in many countries during the past eight year period, competition for access to exports markets in emerging countries increases. China is one of them, but also smaller markets such as Brazil. Yet as these countries already possess sufficient production capacities to satisfy domestic demand or are currently increasing them, an increasing surplus of butanol on the world market is the result. According to the analyses of experts at Ceresana, this trend will continue on the medium-term, resulting in a decline of capacity utilization; also, prices will not increase as rapidly as they had in the past. Countries reporting an excessive output of butanol are the USA in particular, exporting 213,000 tonnes of butanol in 2013, but also Russia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and South Africa.