Global refractory demand is projected to expand at a 3.4 percent annual rate through 2016 to 46.3 million metric tons, an improvement over 2006-2011 market performance. Product sales will climb 5.3 percent annually in value terms to $46.5 billion in 2016, not as strong as gains registered in recent years because of a moderation in raw material costs and refractory prices. The iron and steel market will continue to dominate global refractory sales, accounting for almost three-fifths of all 2016 product demand in volume terms. These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in World Refractories, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Refractory sales will expand most quickly in developing areas, reflecting an ongoing shift in metals and other heavy industry production to countries with low cost structures. The Asia/Pacific region, in particular, will post the largest tonnage increases, followed by the Africa/Mideast region, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. China alone will account for more than seven-tenths of all refractory volume gains between 2011 and 2016, due both to additional growth in its huge steel, cement, and other heavy manufacturing industries and to the use of less sophisticated production methods in steelmaking and other important markets than those utilized in economically advanced nations, resulting in greater refractory use in per unit of output terms.
The volume of refractories consumed will also rise in the US, Western Europe, and Japan following an extended period of decline, as economic conditions strengthen in these areas and output of ferrous metals and other refractory-using products rebounds. Output gains in these areas are more likely to result in higher refractory demand because the manufacturing techniques utilized are already so efficient that it will be much more difficult to reduce refractory consumption on a per unit output basis than in less developed countries. Due to their greater use of more costly, high quality products, the US, Western Europe, and Japan will account for a somewhat larger share of the world refractory market total in dollar terms (19 percent) in 2016 than they will in tonnage (14 percent).
The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles.