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Steel Industry and China Will Drive Global Refractories Market to 2017

  Over 400 pages long and featuring 275 tables and figures, The Refractories Industry Worldwide 2012– 2017 – A Market/Technology Report, examines the current situation and future prospects for the refractories industry worldwide, providing comprehensive data on production, consumption, international trade and growth rates for the refractories industry, its raw materials suppliers and its end-user markets. The report’s author is Ted Dickson, one of the world’s leading consultants in the industrial minerals sector, with extensive knowledge of the refractories industry and its markets. The refractories industry largely follows trends set by its main driver, the steel industry. Iron and steel production is responsible for up to 70 % of the total demand for refractories: therefore, the profitability of the refractories industry as a whole is strongly influenced by steel production levels and steel plant investments. Current steel production and forecasts through to 2017 are analysed in the report by region/major producing country. While the short term outlook is one of low growth because of the global economic situation, the report predicts that there will be an upturn in the second half of 2013, with realistic and sustainable growth in steel production and in other key end-user industries through to 2017. Specific consumption of refractories per tonne of steel has fallen to about 7,8 kg in Japan and about 10 kg in Europe and North America, mainly due to the use of higher quality refractories with longer in-service life cycles; further declines in consumption are likely to be slow and modest in these countries/regions. In China, however, the consumption of refractories per tonne of steel is much higher, estimated to be around 23 kg. The report predicts that there will be considerable declines in the consumption of refractories per tonne of steel in China over the next five years as the Chinese steel industry moves to more sophisticated refractory materials and advanced steelmaking practices. Other end-user sectors include cement, glass, ceramics and non-ferrous metals. While these consume lower amounts of refractories than the steel sector, their influence on the refractories industry is considerable, and there are numerous refractories manufacturers that offer high value products specifically tailored for these sectors. The report analyses refractories usage in the production of cement, glass, ceramics and non-ferrous metals, with statistical data on consumption and forecasts for growth.   Total world production of refractories was estimated to be 41,5 Mt in 2012, valued at EUR 25 billion. The largest portion of this was in China, with production estimated at 29,5 Mt, valued at EUR 14,3 billion. China is also a significant supplier of raw materials, most notably refractory bauxite, magnesia, graphite, brown fused alumina and silicon carbide, though export restrictions have reinvigorated development of non-Chinese supplies of key raw materials, such as magnesia. Trade (import/export) patterns for both raw materials and finished refractories are analysed in the report. The European Union (EU) is the second largest producing region, with an estimated production of 4,1 Mt of refractories in 2012, valued at EUR 3,9 billion, followed by North America, with 1,4 Mt in 2012, valued at EUR 1,4 billion. The report forecasts that refractories production worldwide will rise to 46 million tonnes by 2017, with a value of EUR 29 billion. The report breaks down forecasts by region/major producing country. The refractories industry has been going through a long period of consolidation, particularly within Western countries; in China and other developing economies this process is still at an early stage. Outside of China, about 70 % of sales of refractory products are made by the world’s top 10 multinational refractories companies, and all of these companies also have operations in China. There are numerous opportunities for international refractory companies in developing regions, particularly through joint ventures. The report includes profiles of the world’s major refractory manufacturers, giving their size, market share and product range, with financial results. Raw materials suppliers are also listed, along with a variety of specialist refractory companies. In total, over 180 companies are profiled. (Source: Materials Technology Publications) (4/2013)  

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