World demand to rise 6+% annually through 2017
Global demand for building boards is forecast to rise more than six percent per year through 2017 to nearly 400 million cubic meters, significantly exceeding the growth rate of the 2007-2012 period. Gains will be driven by recoveries in the building construction markets of many developed countries, although growth will be exaggerated somewhat by a weak 2012 base, particularly in the US. In addition, continued strong growth in building construction activity in developing areas will boost demand.
China to account for about half of world demand in 2017
China was the largest market for building boards in 2012, and will see its share of global demand rise to approximately half of the total in 2017. Continuing rapid growth and industrialization, as well as an increase in the average size of a housing unit, will boost gains. Also, as personal incomes rise, households can better afford homes built with modern construction techniques and materials, such as building boards, thereby raising demand. As such, China is projected to post robust annual demand gains through 2017, a rate slower than that of the previous decade but still among the fastest in the world.
Solid gains expected in other developing regions
Solid gains are also expected in the other regions of the world, particularly Central and South America and Eastern Europe. However, growth will be slightly below the world average, as the global financial crisis did not have as strong an impact as in the more developed areas, and these regions are starting from a higher 2012 base. Rising personal incomes in these areas will lead to the adoption of more Western style building practices, encouraging the usage of materials such as building boards.
US, Western Europe to see recovery after declines of the 2007-2012 period
Due to the housing market recovery, the US market for building boards is forecast to post strong growth of more than six percent annually through 2017, after suffering severe declines between 2007 and 2012. Western Europe, another market that posted declines in building board demand between 2007 and 2012, is also projected to register a recovery through 2017, though not as strong as that in the US.
Structural boards to grow faster than nonstructural
Structural boards -- softwood plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) -- are expected to register faster demand growth through 2017 than nonstructural boards. Structural boards are used primarily in construction applications, and were therefore hurt more by the housing market collapse of the 2007-2012 period and were starting from a lower base. OSB is forecast to see faster growth than softwood plywood through 2017, as it continues to grow in popularity worldwide and gain market share.
Among the nonstructural boards -- particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), hardboard, and other board -- the fastest demand gains through 2017 are expected for MDF. MDF is a popular board because it can be used in many construction and manufacturing applications, and has better performance.