The global bromine market is expected to record a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period. The primary factor driving the market studied is the increasing demand for clear brine fluids (CBFs) in North America.
- The emergence of non-halogenated flame retardants is expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- The shift towards energy storage is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market studied with more than 50% of the total volume of the market studied.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand for Flame Retardants
- Flame retardants account for the largest share in the global bromine market. Despite, increasing regulations and ban on some of the bromine-based flame retardants, this segment is still dominating the market, owing to the effective characteristics of bromine in controlling the fire.
- Polybrominated diphenylether, polybrominatedbiphenyl, decabromodiphenylether, hexabromocyclododecane, and tetrabromobisphenolare few of the examples of flame-retardant chemicals that are made using bromine.
- There are around 80 different types of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which have widely varying chemical properties, and are available in the market. Some of these types include brominated bisphenols, diphenylethers, cyclododecanes, bisphenyls, phenols, phenoxy ethanes, and phthalicacid derivatives.
- BFRs are commonly used to prevent fires in electronics and electrical equipment, which accounts for more than 50% of their applications. For instance, these flame retardants are extensively used in the outer housings of TV sets and computer monitors, as the internal circuitry of such devices can heat up, and over time, collect dust. Short circuits and electrical or electronic malfunctions can occur.
- Printed circuit boards also require flame retardanceproperties, which are often provided by a crosslinkedbrominated epoxy resin polymer, manufactured from tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA).
- In addition, BFRs are used in wire and cable compounds, for example, for use in buildings and vehicles and other building materials, such as insulation foams. They are also used in specialty fabric back-coatings for curtains, seating, and furniture, in transport and public buildings and domestic upholstered furniture.
- Synergistic agents, such as antimony oxides, further increase the effectiveness of both brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, by enabling the halogen to stay in the flame zone for longer periods.
- Furthermore, other applications include furniture foams, textiles, plastic casing employed in electronics, computers ,televisions, fridges, radios, and washing machines.
- In recent years, legislation is concentrating on the restriction in the use of these compounds as flame retardants, all over the world. Some brominated flame-retardant producers voluntarily agreed to put restrictions on production, export, and import of their products in the European Union, in advance of legislation itself.
- The federal government of the United States has regulations in place that restrict specific flame retardants, including TDBPP, PentaBDE, OctaBDE, DecaBDE, and HBCD, in specific applications.
- Recently, European recyclers are lobbying for the reconsideration of a proposed EU legislation, which has lowered concentration limits for decaBDE, a brominated flame retardant, in substances and products.
- Rising construction activities, across the world, is in turn boosting the demand for bromine compounds in the aforementioned applications.
China to Dominate the Asia-Pacific Market
- In the Asia-Pacific region, China is the largest economy in terms of GDP. The country witnessed about 6.1% growth in its GDP during 2019, even after the trade disturbance caused due to its trade war with the United States. The economic growth rate of China in 2020 was initially expected to be moderate as compared to the previous year.
- However, due to the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, the economic growth of China is now expected to contract to a considerable extent. The IMF has cut the nation’s GDP growth forecast to about 5.6%, on account of assumptions that the outbreak was only limited to China. However, as it is not the case currently, the GDP growth of the nation for 2020 is expected to decline further.
- China is the fourth-largest producer of bromine, after Israel, Jordan, and the United States. Flame retardants are the largest application of bromine in China, followed by clear brine fluids and water treatment. Brominated flame retardants are used to hinder or suppress combustion for commercial and industrial applications, such as furniture, textile, construction, electrical, etc.
- In China, the construction industry grew at a strong pace in 2019, even though the growth slowed down during the year, as compared to 2018. The construction sector has supported the economic growth in the country. Although this growth has been far less when compared to the average growth of construction sector over the past ten years.
- Moreover, China has the world’s largest electronics production base. Electronic products, such as smartphones, TVs, wires, cables, etc., recorded the highest growth in the electronics segment. The country serves not only domestic demand for electronics, but also exports electronic output to other countries. With the growing electronics and construction industry, the demand for the bromine-based flame-retardant application is expected to increase.
- The enormous demand for organobromines, as a result of the growing need for zinc-bromine flow batteries and consumption of clear brine fluids in China, is driving the bromine market.
- China is one of the major markets for zinc-bromine flow batteries, owing to the increasing electric vehicles market in the region. Although, the Chinese car market declined in 2019, the electric vehicle segment also witnessed a growth of 4.7% in 2019 with approximately 1.18 million plug-in electric cars were sold in China in 2019.
- Clear brines are used as completion and drilling fluids by the oil drilling industry. China is the largest crude oil producer in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2019, the Chinese government directed Chinese state-owned oil and gas companies to increase the domestic production and reserves to improve the domestic energy security of the country.
- As a result, increasing numbers of oil and gas upstream joint initiatives have emerged in the country. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is signing strategic cooperation agreements, which are a new and flexible method of jointly developing oil and gas fields. This is likely to drive the growth of the oil and gas industry, which, in turn, is likely to boost the demand for clear brine fluids.
- Therefore, the aforementioned factors are expected to increase the demand for bromine in China over the forecast period
nThe bromine market is a highly consolidated market, where the top four players account for more than 86% of the total global production capacity. The bromine market is primarily dominated by players, such as ICL, JBC (joint venture between Albemarle Corporation and Arab Potash Company), LANXESS, and Albemarle Corporation.
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