Sulfur is one the most important raw material of the chemical industry. Majority of sulfur is used in preparation of its derivatives such as sulfuric acid, sodium hydro sulfide, sodium hydrosulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium sulfide and sodium thiosulfate. Sodium sulfites include dry and liquid sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfate solution and sodium metabisulfite. These chemicals are majorly used in applications like paper, pulp and textile processing, food and photographic industries and in water treatment as reducing and precipitating agent.
Sulfur chemicals are used in food applications and the growth in food industry is accompanied by relevant growth in the demand for sulfur chemicals. Sulfur chemicals are used as preservatives for increasing the shelf life of food. There has been growing demand for food and food products from Asia Pacific owing to increasing population in these regions. Countries such as China, India are witnessing an increase in the disposable income. Hence, the consumption of processed food is also on the rise in these regions, due to changing lifestyles in this region. In regions such as South America, Africa and Southeast Asia the demand for processed food has grown in the recent past and is expected to increase further in the next few years. The increase in wealth and the growing demand for processed food is expected to drive the preservatives market and subsequently sulfur chemicals market in the next few years.
The other major application of sulfur chemicals is in textiles, where they are used for dyeing. The textiles market has recently been shifted to emerging economies such as China and India. The textiles production, especially the consumption of sodium hydrosulfide in dyeing application has been recently shifted to India and China. There has been a growing demand for sodium hydrosulfide for kaolin leaching especially from Brazil. The demand for sodium hydrosulfide is anticipated to grow even further with increasing paper production and the growing trend towards high brightness papers. With increasing stringent regulations over wastewater treatment, the demand for sulfur chemicals for water treatment application is expected to witness strong growth in the next few years. The switch to digital photography has hampered the demand for sulfur chemicals used in Photographic applications. The downward trend for this application is expected to continue in the next few years.
Asia Pacific accounted for the largest demand for sulfur chemicals followed by North America and Europe. In Asia Pacific, China was the largest market for sulfur chemicals in terms of consumption. The growth in textile industry and paper industry is expected to further propel the demand for sulfur chemicals in this region. China was followed by India and China in terms of demand for sulfur chemicals. In North America, U.S was the largest market for sulfur chemicals followed by Canada and Mexico. Strict regulations pertaining to water treatment has resulted in growing demand for sulfur chemicals in this region. Europe and North America have similar market conditions for sulfur chemicals. In Europe, Germany was the largest market in terms of followed by France, Italy and U.K. Latin America also constitutes as a major market for sulfur chemicals. Brazil is the largest Consumer of sulfur chemicals in Latin America. The demand for sulfur chemicals is also growing in countries such as Argentina, Peru etc.
Some of the major companies operating in the global sulfur chemicals market are AkzoNobel Functional Chemicals, Solvay Chemicals, PVS Chemical Solutions Inc. and TIB Chemicals AG among others.
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