Maintaining the trend seen over the 1999-2009 period, demand will easily outpace real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) gains in the global economy. The market value of fabricated glass (basic flat glass as well as value added products such as laminated, tempered, insulating and mirrored glass) is forecast to reach almost $90 billion in 2014. Gains will be spurred by continuing robust growth in the Asia/Pacific region, as well as by recovery in the building construction and motor vehicle industries in North America and Western Europe after the recession. Fabricated flat glass demand will benefit from rapid growth in more expensive products such as solar control glass, low-e glass, smart glass, self-cleaning glass and head-up-display (HUD) windshields. In recent years, glass used in solar energy applications has witnessed surging growth in demand, a trend that will accelerate through 2014 due to increasing government support around the world for renewable energy. On a square meter basis, however, solar energy applications account for a very small share of global flat glass demand. Value gains in glass demand will be aided by more rapid gains in laminated glass demand than in lower value tempered glass demand.
China to gain market share
China's share of world flat glass demand in square meters will rise from 40 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2014. The country's share of world fabricated flat glass demand in value will stand at a less significant but still impressive 32 percent in 2014. Basic unfabricated float glass continues to account for a disproportionate share of the overall Chinese flat glass market due to the frenetic pace of building construction activity taking place in the country, often necessitating the utilization of the cheapest materials available. Other developing Asian countries such as India and Thailand will post particularly impressive gains, given that their base level of demand is currently many times smaller than China's.
Demand in US to post above average growth rate
Demand in the US will post above average gains, but this is due to the fact that local flat glass demand in 2009 fell drastically due to the country's major economic recession. Demand in the mature markets of Western Europe and Japan will continue to post below average gains through 2014.
Production of flat glass to reach 73 million metric tons
Production of flat glass is projected to reach 73 million metric tons in 2014, of which around 68 million metric tons will be high quality float glass. The remainder will consist of low quality float glass produced primarily in China -- and, to a lesser extent, in Russia -- as well as sheet glass and rolled glass. Based on year-end 2009 figures, the global industry will require over 60 new float lines averaging 500 metric tons per day to meet projected 2014 demand levels. Moreover, some existing float lines (particularly in China and Russia) will need to be replaced with modern larger-scale lines.
This new Freedonia industry study, World Flat Glass, presents historical demand data (1999, 2004 and 2009) plus forecasts for 2014 and 2019 by product (flat glass, float glass), market (e.g., nonresidential building construction, residential building construction, OEM motor vehicle, motor vehicle replacement), world region and for 21 major national markets. The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 32 competitors in the global flat glass industry such as Asahi Glass, Guardian Industries and Nippon Sheet Glass.
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