Specialty chemicals

Latest insight


Rare-earth output rose sharply in 2018 with restart of US production

Mining of rare-earth elements (REEs) increased worldwide in 2018, with renewed production in the US supplemented by new or increased production in Australia, Myanmar, and Burundi, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS; Reston, Virginia).

Asia, regulation drive growth in lubricating oil additives

Most LOA consumption is in the automotive sector, and a key driver is legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing fuel economy.

Surfactants: Market dominated by household applications

Global consumption of surfactants was more than 16.8 million metric tons in 2018, with an estimated market value of $39 billion, according to IHS Markit.

Synthetic lubricants: Oiling the gears of industry

The global market for synthetic base oils used to produced synthetic finished lubricants hit 1.3 million metric tons in 2017, with a market value of $5.6 billion, according to IHS Markit.

Batteries continue to drive demand for lithium

Global demand for energy continues to increase, fed both by a growing population overall and by an increasing middle class.

Flavors and Fragrances: Consumers want natural products, but bold and unusual flavors

The global market for flavor and fragrance products is estimated at $38.5 billion in 2018, according to a recent report by IHS Markit.

Asia drives growth in antioxidants demand

Consumption of antioxidants, used as additives to protect other products, was estimated at 1.37 million metric tons (MMt) in 2017, with a value of $6.69 billion, according to a recent report by IHS Markit.

Good growth prospects for printing inks in emerging markets, but mature markets shrink

Worldwide consumption of printing inks reached a value of more than $18.3 billion in 2017, according to a recent report by IHS Markit.

Government mandates and consumer acceptance drive strong growth in electric vehicles

Consumer demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is set to expand dramatically. Although electromobility is in its infancy, growth in production of EVs is set to take off.

Demand for controlled-release fertilizers increasing rapidly on population growth

Worldwide market demand for controlled-release fertilizers (CRF) and slow-release fertilizers (SRF) was valued at $2.35 billion in 2017, according to new analysis from IHS Markit.

Featured data

US specialty chemicals volumes increased in 2018

Sales volumes by the US specialty chemical industry grew steadily last year

News from WPC 2019

Supply interruptions, sticky demand worsen nylon-6,6 shortage

Supply interruptions and inelastic demand in engineering plastics applications, especially in the automotive market, are worsening a supply shortage for nylon-6,6.


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Organic pigments: Colors run to Asia

The largest market for organic pigments is printing inks, which makes up 45–50% of demand based on volume, according to a recent report by IHS Markit. Coatings consume about 25%, plastics about 10%, and other industries, including textiles, account for the rest.

Flavors and fragrances scent growth

The flavors and fragrances (F&F) market includes numerous smaller players, many of them family-owned, that operate in a single region and with a focus on a specific niche, such as savory flavors or sports drinks.