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World demand to rise 8.6% annually through 2018
Global demand for flat glass is forecast to advance 8.6 percent per annum to 11.5 billion square meters in 2018, valued at $112 billion. The pace of gains will accelerate relative to the 2008-2013 period, with the largest improvements expected in developed countries in Europe and North America. In particular, rebounds in building construction activity in many countries in these regions will support rising demand for flat glass in architectural applications. However, the fastest gains are expected in developing countries, and China is expected to continue to be the world’s fastest growing market for flat glass through 2018.
Architectural market to remain top source of demand
The architectural market will remain the largest source of demand for flat glass, comprising 43 percent of the total in 2018. However, the fastest growth will be seen in other markets, driven by rising manufacture of higher value products like electronic displays. Demand for flat glass in the solar energy market is forecast to be particularly rapid as many countries increase investment in renewable energy. Solar energy applications accounted for 130 million square meters of flat glass consumption in 2013, a figure which is expected to more than double by 2018. Demand for flat glass in the motor vehicle market will advance at a more moderate rate, as many of the investments in new motor vehicle production in recent years were accompanied by the closure of facilities in developed countries, especially in Europe.
Dominant Asia/Pacific region to also be fastest growing market
The Asia/Pacific region holds by far the largest regional market for flat glass, accounting for 54 percent of worldwide demand in value terms in 2013. The region is expected to also post the fastest gains through 2018, benefiting from the presence of five of the six fastest growing national markets for flat glass worldwide in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Within the Asia/Pacific region, China is the dominant flat glass consumer, representing 64 percent of the regional total. Japan, which holds the second largest national market for flat glass in the Asia/Pacific region, will continue to lag the regional performance, but will at least manage to return to positive growth in demand for flat glass.
Developing regions to outpace demand in North America & Western Europe
North America and Europe will continue to trail the global average in flat glass demand through 2018, although recovery from the recessionary conditions seen over the 2008-2013 period will lead to stronger performances going forward. Eastern Europe will outpace Western Europe, largely due to a major expected uptick in motor vehicle production. Gains in demand for flat glass in North America and Europe will be constrained by the shifting dynamics of global production, as producers of a wide variety of glassconsuming products are expected to site more operations in developing regions. Consequently, increased manufacturing output and investment in commercial facilities will allow Central and South America and the Africa/Mideast region to outpace North America and Europe in demand for flat glass through 2018. Production of flat glass will continue to be dominated by China, which currently produces roughly half of the world’s flat glass. At the end of 2013 there were 432 float lines active worldwide, of which 243 were located in China.
This upcoming industry study, World Flat Glass, presents historical demand data for 2003, 2008 and 2013 and forecasts for 2018 and 2023 by market, world region, and for 21 countries. The study also considers key market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles global industry competitors.
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