Maintaining the trend seen over the 2001-2011 period, demand will easily outpace real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) gains in the global economy. Gains in the dominant construction sector will be stimulated by an acceleration in building construction spending. The global market value of fabricated flat glass is forecast to exceed $100 billion in 2016.
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Asia/Pacific region to remain largest & fastest growing market
The Asia/Pacific region, which accounted for 55 percent of global flat glass demand (on a square meter basis) in 2011, will continue to post the fastest gains through 2016. Gains in the region’s dominant national market of China will slow in comparison to the pace of the 2006-2011 period, but remain well above the world average. The Japanese market will exhibit a significant improvement based on recovering domestic building construction and motor vehicle sectors.
US demand for flat glass will recover strongly based on a healthy expansion in the country’s battered building construction sector. Building construction spending in the US in 2011 was just a little over one-half of levels seen in 2006. Despite seeing positive economic growth in 2010 and 2011 after a major recession, the US building construction sector witnessed further declines in both those years. Some recovery has been seen in 2012, suggesting that the worst may be over.
The West European market for flat glass will see the weakest gains among all regions through 2016. A slow growing population combined with a stagnant motor vehicle industry will limit gains in glass demand. A number of float glass plants in the region closed in 2012, suggesting that major glassmakers are shifting focus elsewhere.
Energy efficient products to boost flat glass demand
Fabricated flat glass demand will benefit from rapid growth in sales of energy efficient products such as solar control, insulation and low-e glass. The solar energy market, which was hurt by recent global economic weaknesses, will take off briskly once again. It should be noted, however, that demand for flat glass used in solar energy applications totaled just 100 million square meters in 2012, so this is a niche market.
Profiles global industry players including Asahi Glass, Guardian Industries, Nippon Sheet Glass, and Saint-Gobain
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