Published October 2023
Formic acid (methanoic acid, HCOOH) is a colorless liquid with a sharp odor. It is soluble in water, various alcohols, acetone and ether. It is produced mainly by hydrolysis of methyl formate. Most applications require formic acid in concentrations of 75%, 85%, 94% or 99%; the 85% product accounts for the major portion of global demand and is considered the industry standard.
Mainland China and Europe are the largest consumers, although uses are very diverse in the two regions. In Europe, silage and animal feeds represent the major end markets, while pharmaceuticals/food chemicals are predominant in mainland China. Globally, use as chemical intermediates to manufacture chemicals and pharmaceuticals, including use as a PH regulator, is the largest end use. The second-largest end use is preservation/animal feed additives, followed by leather and tanning. Improving living standards globally have led to an increase in the consumption of meat, raising demand for formic acid in animal feed preservatives.
Other important end markets for formic acid include leather and tanning, rubber chemicals (antiozonants and coagulants), and textile dyeing and finishing. The leather and textile markets were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and are now slowly recovering. Uses as chemical and pharmaceutical intermediates and as animal feed additives have shown better resilience.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of formic acid:
The global formic acid market is currently amply supplied, as downstream demand has started to weaken at the end of 2022 and through the first half 2023. High inflation prices are among the reasons for the slow growth. The situation could improve during the second half of the year. Growth is expected at an average annual rate of about 3% through 2028. Chemical intermediates and feed additives will be the growth drivers. The bulk of the growth will occur in Asia. Nevertheless, some restructuring is still likely, especially for facilities based on the old sodium formate route.
For more detailed information, see the table of contents, shown below.
S&P Global’s Chemical Economics Handbook – Formic Acid is the comprehensive and trusted guide for anyone seeking information on this industry. This latest report details global and regional information, including
S&P Global’s Chemical Economics Handbook – Formic Acid has been compiled using primary interviews with key suppliers and organizations, and leading representatives from the industry in combination with S&P Global’s unparalleled access to upstream and downstream market intelligence and expert insights into industry dynamics, trade, and economics.
This report can help you
- Identify trends and driving forces influencing chemical markets
- Forecast and plan for future demand
- Understand the impact of competing materials
- Identify and evaluate potential customers and competitors
- Evaluate producers
- Track changing prices and trade movements
- Analyze the impact of feedstocks, regulations, and other factors on chemical profitability