USA: rising demand for flat glass, says report

A recent market report on global flat glass demand by US-based industry research consultancy Freedonia Group Inc sees a rise of about 5.2% per annum up to 2010, reaching a total of 6,100 million squar…

A recent market report on global flat glass demand by US-based industry research consultancy Freedonia Group Inc sees a rise of about 5.2% per annum up to 2010, reaching a total of 6,100 million square metres. It is positive news for manufacturers of the key components of flat glass: soda ash, limestone and silica sand. As a result of the growth, the market value of fabricated glass is also expected to reach USD 57,500 million by 2010. Fabricated glass includes basic flat glass and value added products such as laminated, tempered, insulating, and mirrored glass. Flat glass production, almost 50 million tons of which will be high quality float glass, is also expected to exceed 57 million tonnes in 2010. The remaining output will include low quality float glass produced in China and Russia, as well as sheet and rolled glasses. This growing demand will, in turn, require considerable investments in glass manufacturing. Considering the figures to the end of 2005, the world industry is expected to need more than 60 new float glass lines, with an average production of 500 tonnes per day. In China and Russia, however, there is not only the need to add capacity, but also to convert and modernize existing production facilities. A strong global construction market, which is the dominant consumer of these forms of glass, means that consumption in this segment, with above average gains, is expected to increase by 4.7% per year until 2010, reaching almost USD 35,000 million. Moreover, the architectural glass market should benefit from the increased use of value added glazing products in new structures and also for major renovation and refurbishment. Sales of the latest value added glasses, such as security and fire-rated, as well as self-cleaning glass and smart windows, are also forecast to accelerate during the next four years. The trend of coated and laminated products to improve their market share at the expense of basic float glass should also continue.