Jun. 5, 2018
China is the largest paraformaldehyde producer and consumer in the world. Though the domestic capacity has kept exceeding the demand in the past few years, some companies still expand their capacities or build new production lines.
The industry is greatly influenced by the development of its downstream industries, especially the glyphosate
industry. Resin is the second largest end use segment of paraformaldehyde in China. Along with the increasing concern on environmental protection, paraformaldehyde gradually substitutes formaldehyde to produce resins.
China’s paraformaldehyde industry is in a fast development currently. According to market intelligence firm CCM, the export volume of the chemical has witnessed an incredible growth in the last decade. However, the country is still relying on imports as they remain higher than the export volume.
The paraformaldehyde industry in China is facing some problems, due to the outgrowth of the domestic demand by its rapid supply. Hence, oversupply has occurred in the market, adding pressure on the price. Manufacturers are suffering shrinking bargaining power and profits.
According to CCM, a growing number of paraformaldehyde manufacturers in China has increased the output significantly, rising by a CAGR of 4.29% in the period from 2015 to 2017. The peak was reached in 2017 with an output more than 260,000 tonnes.
The outlook for the paraformaldehyde industry in China remains optimistic since the demand is expected to continue growing sharply in the next years, while the output will be strictly regulated amid the environmental protection measurements in China.
China’s paraformaldehyde is mainly consumed in the agrochemicals industry, besides also showing high use in the resin and pharmaceutical industries. However, agrochemicals remain the main downstream market. The consumption volume in agrochemicals, mainly glyphosate, acetochlor, and butachlor, reached 219,000 tonnes in 2017, an uptrend by 3.16%. The growing resin demand was even a bit higher, due to the high demand overseas, which resulted in the consumption of paraformaldehyde in resin by almost 6% increase.
Depolymerized paraformaldehyde is normally used as a fumigant, disinfectant, fungicide, or fixative. Other possibilities of usage are as a thermoplastic. Paraformaldehyde itself is not a fixative. It must be depolymerized to formaldehyde in solution.
Paraformaldehyde is also used to crosslink proteins to DNA, which is a technique to determine which part of DNA certain proteins are binding to.
Paraformaldehyde can be used as a substitute of aqueous formaldehyde to produce the resinous binding material, which is commonly used together with melamine, phenol or other reactive agents in the manufacturing of particle board, medium density fiberboard and plywood.