Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) Market: Asia Pacific Industry Detailed Analysis and Forecast by 2016 – 2026

Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) is one of the leading gasoline additives worldwide. Ease of blending, reasonable pricing, and high octane level make MTBE a key oxygenate and ideal substitute for lead.

In terms of volume, the MTBE market in Asia Pacific is projected to expand by 50% from 2016 to 2026. The revenue growth is also expected to remain positive during the same period. However, significant expansions in the region in the next few years are likely to affect the market dynamics in terms of price rise, keeping it minimal during the forecast period.

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China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan are some of the prominent producers of MTBE in Asia Pacific, while China, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia are among the key consumers of methyl tertiary-butyl ether, especially as a gasoline additive.

The MTBE market in Asia Pacific was valued at US$6.7 bn in 2015 and is anticipated to reach US$10.9 bn by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of 4.6% therein.

Rising Demand for Gasoline Additives Driving Demand for MTBE

Methyl tertiary-butyl ether finds application in gasoline, isobutene production, solvents and extractants, and others such as methyl methacrylate. In 2015, the gasoline segment accounted for the major share in the MTBE market in Asia Pacific, followed by isobutene.

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MTBE is used as an additive (octane booster) in gasoline and petrol. A rise in the demand for oxygenates and octane boosters in Asia Pacific is anticipated to boost the demand for methyl tertiary-butyl ether in the gasoline segment. Rapid growth of the gasoline segment is also attributed to the development of the automotive industry.

The production of high purity isobutene is another key application of MTBE. An increase in the demand for isobutene in the production of polyisobutene, butyl rubber, and other downstream products is projected to drive the methyl tertiary-butyl ether market over the next decade. The expansion of the synthetic rubber industry (butyl rubber) is also projected to benefit the MTBE market in the region.

China Focused on Domestic Production of MTBE to Retain Lead in APAC

The MTBE market in Asia Pacific has been segmented on the basis of region into China, India, and ASEAN. China accounts for a significant share in the MTBE market, followed by ASEAN and India.

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Gasoline is one of the major applications of methyl tertiary-butyl ether; therefore, a rise in the demand for gasoline in the automotive industry in China is anticipated to propel the demand for MTBE in the country. The China MTBE market is also projected to be augmented by the ongoing expansion of various end-use industries that employ downstream products with MTBE. This market depends majorly on imports from India, the ASEAN sub-region, and several countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. However, of late, existing players in China have been focused on increasing their domestic production to meet the local demand. Untapped local players producing MTBE in small quantities are likely to boost the production of methyl tertiary-butyl ether in China, making the country a key producer in the next few years.

Countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand primarily account for the production of MTBE in the ASEAN sub-region of Asia Pacific. A consistent growth in various end-user industries and the easy availability of raw material are key factors responsible for the growth in this market.

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