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World Flat Glass Industry: global demand to rise annually through 2014

According to a recent report from Freedonia, global demand for flat glass is forecast to rise 6.0% per year through 2014 to 8.1 billion sq.m. Demand will, if the trend of the 1999-2009 period is maint…

According to a recent report from Freedonia, global demand for flat glass is forecast to rise 6.0% per year through 2014 to 8.1 billion sq.m. Demand will, if the trend of the 1999-2009 period is maintained, easily outpace real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) gains in the global economy. The market value of fabricated glass (basic flat glass and value added products such as laminated, tempered, insulating and mirrored glass) is expected to reach almost USD 90 billion by 2014. Continuing strong growth in the Asia/Pacific region, along with recovery in the building construction and motor vehicle industries in North America and Western Europe after the recession, will push gains. Demand for fabricated flat glass 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. Glass used in solar energy applications has witnessed surging growth in demand in recent years, and this trend is expected to accelerate through 2014 due to increasing government support around the world for renewable energy. On a square metre basis, however, solar energy applications are only a very small share of global flat glass demand. More rapid gains in laminated glass demand than in lower value tempered glass demand will, however, contribute to value gains in glass demand. China“s share of world flat glass demand in square metres will increase from 40% in 2009 to 43% in 2014, with the country“s share of world fabricated flat glass demand in value being a less significant but still impressive 32% in 2014. Basic unfabricated float glass continues to have a disproportionate share of the overall Chinese flat glass market because of the frenetic pace of building construction activity there, often necessitating the utilization of the cheapest materials available. Asian countries such as India and Thailand will post particularly impressive gains, since their base level of demand is currently much smaller than that of China. Demand in the US will post above average gains, mainly due to the fact that local flat glass demand fell drastically in 2009 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 is estimated to reach 73 million metric tons in 2014, around 68 million metric tons of which will be high quality float glass. The remainder will be made up of low quality float glass produced primarily in China, along with a smaller part 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 the estimated demand levels for 2014. Some existing float lines (particularly in China and Russia) will also need to be replaced with modern larger-scale lines. This new World Flat Glass study presents historical demand data (1999, 2004 and 2009), along with forecasts for 2014 and 2019 by product (flat glass, float glass), market (e.g., non-residential building construction, residential building construction, OEM motor vehicle, motor vehicle replacement), global 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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