Toluene's domestic production has always been hindered by the underutilization of the installed capacity. Even today, India's capacity utilization rate for the chemical is less than 50%. Therefore most of the domestic demand is met through imports. This allows the international market to have a direct bearing on domestic prices.
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However, in 2013, Singapore overtook Korea as the largest exporter of Toluene to India, with a share of 48%, while Korea's share fell to 35%. In 2014, Singapore accounted for a 53% share in total Indian Toluene imports. Korea and Thailand were the other major trading partners. Due to its logistical advantages and duty benefits, Singapore has become the largest exporter to India.
Toluene consumption in India usually peaks during the period of March-October. The Pharmaceuticals sector is the largest end user, accounting for about 40-45% of total consumption. Other large consumers are the printing ink industries, TDI and the paint sectors.
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