Fine Chemicals are made to high specifications at relatively low volumes (<1000 te) and high price (>>$10 per kg) typically in multi-purpose, batch chemical (or biotech) plants.
The sector fits between low added-value commodities and higher added-value specialty and consumer chemicals.
The global market for fine chemicals was estimated to be about $85 billion in 2010.
The largest markets are pharmaceuticals (about $55 billion) and agrochemicals (about $15 billion), with the $15 billion balance spread across another 50+ markets.
facts & figures
Given the difficulty of defining a fine chemical, estimates of the size of the fine chemicals market vary.
At $85 billion, the fine chemicals global industry (ex-manufacturer level) represents about 4% of the $2.5 trillion chemical industry turnover worldwide.
in house and outsourced
In 2010, it was estimated that the $55 billion pharmaceuticals market was divided between in-house manufacture ($32 billion) and outsourced manufacture ($23 billion).
For agrochemicals, the $15 billion market was divided between in-house manufacture ($11 billion) and outsourced manufacture ($4 billion).
For other specialty markets, the $15 billion was divided between in-house ($10 billion) and outsourced ($5 billion) manufacture.