Monochloroacetic acid is a colorless, crystalline, water-soluble compound obtained by the reaction of acetic acid with chlorine. It is used to manufacture versatile intermediates required to synthesize chemicals such as carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), 2, 4-D, glycine, thioglycolic acid, synthetic caffeine and barbiturates. Monochloroacetic acid is a halogenated derivative of acetic acid that is used as a building block in organic synthesis. It exists in three crystal modifications: alpha, beta and gamma. Commercial MCA is produced in the alpha form and is available as flakes or in water solution. Major end-user industries for monochloroacetic acid include oil drilling, personal care, agrochemicals, construction and dyes.
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Key applications of monochloroacetic acid can be segmented as cellulosics, agrochemicals, surfactants, thioglycolic acid and others. Cellulosics was the largest application segment and accounted for over 32% of the total MCA market in 2013. MCA is extensively used in cellulosics (predominantly carboxymethyl cellulosics) and in agrochemicals such as glyphosate, 2, 4-D and dimethoate, among others. MCA is the main ingredient for producing glyphosate. Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is used as a thickening agent in a wide range of products. These include oil field admixtures, foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and textiles. It is produced through the reaction of MCA with cellulose. Demand for CMC is expected to rise exponentially due to an increase in industrial applications. This, in turn, is likely to boost demand for MCA during the forecast period. Additionally, a major portion of the total MCA is consumed in the manufacture of agrochemicals such as 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2, 4-D), glyphosate and dimethoate. Demand for these agrochemicals is high in agrarian economies such as China, India and Brazil. This trend is anticipated to continue over the next few years. This, in turn, is estimated to drive demand for monochloroacetic acid in the near future. However, volatility in raw material prices may hamper the overall monochloroacetic acid market.
Asia Pacific was the leading market for monochloroacetic acid in 2013, followed by Europe. The global monochloroacetic acid market is likely to be driven by China due to increasing industrialization in the country. China consumes more than 50% of MCA produced globally each year. This trend is expected to continue over the next few years owing to the presence of various end-user industries in China, which require MCA on a large scale for the manufacture of various products. Thus, demand for MCA in China is a primary driver for the global MCA market. Monochloroacetic acid is majorly used to manufacture CMC in Europe. However, the use of CMC has declined in the recent years due to closure of plants in the region owing to the fluctuation in raw material prices. This, in turn, has adversely affected demand for MCA in Europe. North America is expected to witness steady growth during the forecast period. Rest of the World is anticipated to experience substantial growth during the forecast period owing to high demand for agrochemicals and CMC from Brazil.
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The global monochloroacetic acid market is consolidated in nature, with the top three companies accounting for more than 60% of the market share in 2013. Leading companies in the market include AkzoNobel N.V., CABB GmbH and the Dow Chemical Company. There are over 100 MCA producers in China, and the major ones include Hebei Donghua Chemical Group, Wuxi Greenapple Chemical Industry Co., Ltd., Shandong Huayang Science and Technology Co., Ltd., Hebei Shijiazhuang Synthesis Chemical Plant, and Shijiazhuang Hengyi Chemical Co., Ltd. There has been a production capacity increase in China and India in the past few years. However, demand for MCA in CIS is met by imports.