World demand for emulsion polymers is forecast to rise 5.2% per year to 12.8 million metric tons in 2014, according to a new Freedonia Group study. Gains will be driven by rising global demand for latex polymers used in the production of water-based coatings and adhesives.

In the developed world, the adoption of more stringent environmental regulations concerning the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will continue to drive demand for emulsions in waterborne coatings. Emulsion polymer consumption is also rapidly rising in developing nations such as China and India, driven by strong economic growth and the ongoing replacement of solvent-based coatings and adhesives with waterborne products.

Acrylics will remain the leading emulsion polymer product type through 2014, accounting for 37% of total demand. In addition, acrylics will be the fastest growing class of emulsions, driven by increasing demand in latex coatings. Vinyl acetate emulsions, which are used in adhesives and water-based coatings, will also see healthy gains in demand. More subdued advances are expected for styrene-butadiene (SB) latexes, restrained by ties to slower growing markets such as paper coatings and carpet backing adhesives. Nonetheless, gains for SB latexes will represent a substantial acceleration over the sluggish increases of the 2004-2009 period.

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