World demand to rise 1.5% annually through 2018 Global demand for salt is forecast to climb 1.5 percent annually through 2018 to 324 million metric tons. Salt consumption growth in the Asia/Pacific region is projected to outpace the global average and offset flat trends expected in North America and Western Europe. Ongoing expansion in China’s chemical manufacturing industry will underpin overall advances. Salt suppliers are also projected to benefit from increases in North America’s chlor-alkali output, spurred by low natural gas prices in the region.
China, India among fastest growing markets In 2013, China accounted for over onequarter of the global salt market, more than any other single country. Through 2018, China will continue to represent the leading salt market, while India is projected to rank as the world’s fastest growing salt consumer. Huge chlor-alkali sectors in China and India primarily drive salt consumption, supported by solid regional demand for PVC and other downstream products. Massive population sizes in both countries, combined with ongoing advances in the nations’ food and beverage industries, will boost salt demand in their respective food processing markets.
North America stands as the second largest regional salt market, behind Asia/ Pacific, bolstered by strong sales of deicing salt in the US and Canada. Large food and beverage industries in the region further propel salt consumption. In Western Europe, Germany, the region’s largest producer of chlor-alkali chemicals, will continue to rank as the leading salt market through 2018.
Chlor-alkali industry to drive global growth Chemical manufacturing is by far the largest market for salt, accounting for 60 percent of global demand in 2013. The vast majority of demand in this market is generated by producers of chlor-alkali chemicals, which use salt as their primary feedstock. The Asia/Pacific region accounts for more than half of the salt consumed by the chemical manufacturing industry, and will see particularly rapid gains going forward. However, oversupply in the chlor-alkali sector is expected to restrain stronger gains in the region’s salt consumption through 2018. In North America and Western Europe, severe winter weather boosted salt demand in road deicing applications in 2013. However, demand in the regions’ deicing markets is forecast to decline through 2018 from this high base.
Salt production to grow fastest in Asia/Pacific region Salt production in the Asia/Pacific region is forecast to rise at the fastest rate, supported by output gains in China, India, and Australia. Central and South America will also see salt production increase at a strong rate, primarily due to advances in Chile’s output of rock salt. Solar evaporation, the most economical method of salt production in areas with warm and dry climates, is expected to remain the most popular method for producing salt. Rock salt and brine also comprise large shares of global salt output, supported by their respective use in the road deicing and chemical manufacturing markets.
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