World Flame Retardants Market to Grow 5.4% annually to 2016

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Global demand for flame retardants is forecast to rise 5.4 percent annually to 2.6 million metric tons in 2016. According to the report ‘World Flame Retardants’ advances will represent an acceleration over the 2006-2011 period, in which demand was severely impacted by the effects of a global economic slowdown, especially in the mature markets of the US, Western Europe, and Japan. In addition to an improved economic outlook, flame retardant demand through 2016 will benefit from trends toward improved fire safety and flammability standards and the rising use of plastic products over less flammable materials.

Non-halogenated types to benefit from favorable environmental profiles

Alumina trihydrate was the leading flame retardant product by volume in 2011, and is expected to post above-average gains in demand through 2016, driven by trends toward non-halogenated chemicals. Halogenated types (chlorinated and brominated) will see subpar advances due to health and safety concerns, while in turn providing opportunities for a number of non-halogenated alternatives. Flame retardants that feature more favorable environmental profiles, including boron, phosphorus, melamine, and magnesium hydroxide, will benefit most from the trend away from the use of halogenated chemicals. However, although brominated flame retardants are being phased out of a number of applications, superior performance and new environmentally friendly formulations will help these products remain an important part of the product mix going forward.

Construction markets to experience fastest gains

Construction and electrical and electronic applications were the leading markets for flame retardants in 2011, each accounting for about one-fourth of overall demand. Faster gains are expected for construction products, fueled by the recovery of the markets in North America and Western Europe and increasing flammability standards in the developing world. Wire and cable, for both communications and power transmission, will expand along with new construction, generating demand for flame retardant products. Demand in motor vehicle applications will also exhibit improvement due to the rebound in motor vehicle output in North America, Western Europe, and Japan and continued growth in developing countries. The increasing use of plastics in vehicles provides additional opportunities for flame retardant demand.

Asia/Pacific region to retain market dominance

The Asia/Pacific region will continue to be the largest and fastest-growing market for flame retardants through 2016, accounting for more than half of global demand. Advances will be fueled by over eight percent annual growth in the large Chinese market, rapid development in less developed countries such as India and Thailand, and solid growth for electronics producers such as South Korea and Taiwan. Gains in North America will reflect Mexico’s growing importance as a producer of electronics and other consumer goods for the American markets, and the recovery of building construction in the US. Western Europe will see a rebound from the declining demand of the 2006-2011 period, although financial uncertainty will restrain growth in flame retardant outlets such as construction and motor vehicle production.

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