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Demand for Refractories till 2014

Suppliers will benefit from an improvement in the key US market, which will rebound from dismal levels in 2009. Raw material supply will continue to be a challenge to refractory producers, especially those in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. These and other trends are presented in World Refractories, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc./US.  The world refractory industry has been negatively affected in recent years by a slowdown in steel and iron output. Given the refractory-intensiveness of ferrous metal production processes, coupled with the fact that this sector typically accounts for about three-fifths of the volume of refractories consumed, refractory producers contended with sluggish demand for their products in 2009. Markets most affected were the developed areas such as the US, Western Europe and Japan. Despite declines in the amount of units needed per ton of steel produced, iron and steel will have the strongest gains of any market through 2014 due to rising steel production. Demand for refractories used in the production of other metals will rise, benefiting from increased output of materials such as aluminium. Gains are also expected in the nonmetallic mineral products market, spurred by growth in the production of ceramics, cement and other mineral products, fueling demand for associated refractories. Other markets, including petroleum, chemicals, paper and aerospace, will benefit from rising production by end users. Among refractory forms, demand gains for bricks and shapes are expected to lag those for monolithics. Monolithics are projected to grow at an above-average pace, as the use of these products provides an economic advantage by extending the interval between brick relinings. (04/2011)

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