Advanced Ceramics / Glass / Raw and Processed Materials

Market Reports - September 2012

China Dominates Rare Earth Resources

The world’s rare earth resources are mainly held by China, Australia, Russia, the U.S., Brazil, Canada and India, according to a new report from CCID Consulting. In recent years, large rare earth deposits were also found in Vietnam.

In 2011, China’s rare earth reserve and output stood at 36 million and 120,000 tons, respectively, accounting for 36% and 97% of the world’s total. In contrast, the U.S., Russia, Australia and India held only 13 million, 19 million, 5.4 million and 3.1 million tons, respectively, making up only 13%, 19%, 5.4% and 3% of the world’s total. In addition, the rare earth output of India was 2,700 tons (2% of the world’s total), while the rest of the countries yielded none.

China is substantially lowering its limit of rare earth mining, with a sharp decrease of 25% in 2010 from the previous year. In 2011, the limit stood at 93,800 tons, growing by 5% year-on-year from 89,200 tons in 2010, among which light rare earth and medium-heavy rare earth stood at 80,400 tons and 13,400 tons, respectively. Therefore, CCID Consulting holds that China’s rare earth mining limit will not experience a significant decrease in the next few years.

Strategic investment is a major channel of equity financing in China’s rare earth industry. From 2010 to 2011, 11 strategic financing cases were disclosed, accounting for 73.33% of the total financing cases; nine of them disclosed a total financing amount of RMB 793 million (~ $125 million), making up 50.28% of the total disclosed financing amount.

From 2010 to 2011, 15 equity financing cases were reported by rare earth enterprises in China, mainly located in Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and other southern areas where rare earths abound. The named four provinces and autonomous regions held 11 of the financing cases, accounting for 73.33% of the total.

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Architects Increasingly Look to Building-Integrated Clean Energy Sources

The use of building-integrated clean energy sources is expected to grow, according to a new survey of architects commissioned by PPG Industries. The study found that, while the volume of work for U.S. architectural firms overseas has remained steady, they are completing more projects in China, Canada and the Middle East.

The PPG survey indicated that architects are almost evenly split on whether they have specified clean-energy generating elements, such as solar panels and mini wind turbines, for building projects. While 42% of respondents reported having done so, nearly three-quarters (74%) said they expect to do so in the future. Most said they see new incentives and falling technology prices driving this trend, as well as the positive sentiment associated with clean energy.

When asked to name the most important characteristics for green building product selection, architects cited product durability most often, followed by lifecycle assessment, product certification and product transparency. When choosing a building product manufacturer, they said product durability was the most critical feature, narrowly leading customer responsiveness, product warranties, product features and technical support.

Consistent with PPG’s last survey in 2008, 30% of participating firms reported doing work outside the U.S. In contrast, though, the number of firms completing projects in China doubled from 15% to 30%; in Canada, it increased from 16% to 27%; and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it jumped from 8% to 22%. Fourteen percent of firms reported projects in India, followed by 13% in Saudi Arabia and 12% in the UK.

The online survey was completed by 686 qualified architects, producing ± 3.7% accuracy at the 95% confidence level. It reached a representative cross-section of U.S. architects by firm size, geography, job title and years of experience.

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China is Largest of BRIC Retail Building Construction Markets

Of all the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations, China has the largest retail building construction market, projected to grow at a 13.33% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, according to “Business Opportunities in the Retail Buildings Construction Market in BRIC,” a new market research report from BRICdata. China’s retail building construction market is projected to grow at a 13.33% CAGR over the next five years. Last year, the country comprised 57.6% of the total BRIC market, followed by India (21.2% share), Russia (18.8%) and Brazil (2.4%).

In Brazil, the retail building construction market grew at a 22.26% CAGR during the review period and is expected to grow further, at a rate of 8.55% over the forecast period. One of the most significant changes observed in Brazil was a shift from the construction of smaller shopping centers to luxury malls.

The Russian and Indian retail building construction markets are projected to grow at 8.59% and 14.49% CAGRs, respectively, from 2012 to 2016.

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Smart Glass Market to Reach Nearly $700 Million a Year by 2020

Smart glass is a class of products used in windows, glass screens and partitions that dynamically provides glare, light, and heat control based on ambient conditions or manual controls. Also referred to as dimmable glass, switchable glass, or dynamic glass (or glazing), smart glass is used in a variety of applications, primarily in architecture and transportation.

Although several barriers stand in the way of the broader adoption of smart glass, the market potential is significant, according to a new report from Pike Research. Substantial new production capacity that is due to come online during 2013 will reduce production costs and help drive greater product adoption. The market value for architectural and transportation smart glass, which stands at $84 million today, is expected to grow to $693 million worldwide by 2020.

“High-performance buildings require a level of control over energy that many of today’s automation systems are only now starting to address,” said Eric Bloom, senior analyst. “Smart glass is an innovative technology that both provides building owners unprecedented control over solar heat gain and offers a visually impressive alternative to flat glass.”

Worldwide demand for smart glass will exceed 3 million square meters annually by 2020, Bloom said. While North America and Europe are forecast to lead the market in terms of overall revenue, growth will be especially strong in China, which continues to undergo a massive building boom. China alone represents half of the global market for flat glass; China, Japan and Southeast Asia constitute 62% of the flat glass market. This considerable potential is expected to lead to higher growth rates throughout Asia Pacific, particularly in China.

For additional information, visit


Roof-Integrated Share of European PV Market to Double by 2015

The importance of roof-integrated photovoltaics (PVs) will significantly increase in all of Europe’s major PV markets over the medium term, according to market research by the Monier Group. Currently, the development of roof-integrated systems is primarily dependent on subsidies. However, research has shown that roof-integrated systems have strong potential to become independent of these subsidies.

EuPD Research, a market research company that specializes in photovoltaics, conducted the research on behalf of Monier. The research provides insight into the segment of building-integrated (BIPV), and in particular roof-integrated photovoltaic systems (RIPV). Germany is likely to be the first country among the most important European markets that will develop from a market dependent on subsidies to a market independent of subsidies, as power prices per kilowatt hour will be above feed-in-tariffs.

“The photovoltaic industry is currently going through a transformation, as the importance of feed-in-tariffs is decreasing in the different markets,” said Pepyn Dinandt, CEO of the Monier Group. “Against the background of increasing power prices, it is becoming more and more attractive for system owners to consume the power they generate with their PV systems. Our model shows that roof-integrated photovoltaics will play an increasingly important role in this context.”

The study’s results show an RIPV market volume of around 300 MWp in Europe’s main PV markets in 2012. With 118 and 88 MWp, respectively, Italy and France will have most installed capacity for these systems—mainly due to the favorable funding situation in these countries. While the RIPV market will not be unaffected by the recent decline in the entire PV industry, the data indicate that the roof-integrated share of the market for new PV installations will increase from 3% in 2012 to 6% in 2015. Across all important markets, roof-integrated systems account for the majority of BIPVs.

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Architectural Glass Sector Suffers with Construction Market; Modest Growth Projected

While the use of architectural glass is prevalent across most building markets (e.g., office buildings, hospitals, schools, retail spaces and condominiums), the significant drop in construction activity over the past five years has hindered the industry’s performance, says Andrea Alegria, IBISWorld industry analyst. As such, industry revenue is expected to have declined at an average annual rate of 7.7% to $1.96 billion in the past five years.

According to Alegria, “The market for architectural glass in the U.S. is mature and moves in line with U.S. residential and commercial construction. The total collapse of the housing market and the subsequent impact on commercial construction curtailed demand.”

Revenue declined from 2007 through 2010, dropping by as much as 26.9% in 2009 during the peak of the recession. Exports represent a decent share of the architectural glass manufacturing industry’s business, but it also faces a significant level of competition from imports. As a result of the drop in demand and deteriorating profit conditions, industry players have implemented a number of cost-control measures, including workforce reductions, divestment of underperforming business operations and adjustments in manufacturing capacities. The number of firms and jobs has subsequently declined from 57 firms and 8,067 employees in 2007 to about 46 firms and 7,070 employees in 2012.

Following a modest improvement in 2011, the industry is expected to grow over 2012, in line with economic recovery and gains in U.S. construction spending. Revenue growth will be subdued by the slow pace of recovery in the commercial construction markets; however, rising demand for energy-efficient architectural glass will help propel the industry forward. Design innovation and new applications for architectural glass will also alleviate competitive pressures and profits will improve.

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Global Revenues from Carbon Nanotube to Reach 22%

According to a new technical market research report, “Global Markets and Technologies for Carbon Nanotubes” from BCC Research, global revenues from carbon nanotube (CNT) production totaled $192 million in 2011. The market is projected to reach $238.9 million in 2012 and $527 million in 2016, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4%.

The CNT market can be split into three segments based on grade: multi-wall, few-wall, and single-wall. The multi-wall segment was valued at $189 million in 2011 and is expected to account for $292 million in 2016, a CAGR of 9.1%. The few-wall segment, worth only $1.8 million in 2011, is expected to be worth $120 million in 2016, a CAGR of 131.6%. The single-wall segment was valued at $1.2 million in 2011, but by 2016 should be worth $115 million, another high CAGR at 149.1%.

Until recently, CNTs were available only in limited quantities at exorbitant prices, and only really catering to the research community. Today, large-scale quantities are becoming available at annual production capacities—kilograms, tons, and even thousands of tons, depending on the grade. Correspondingly, unit costs have plummeted and, with the promise of market breakthroughs, are expected to decline further within the next five years.

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Large Companies Dominate Abrasives Market

The U.S. abrasives manufacturing industry includes about 300 companies with combined annual revenue of about $4 billion, according to Research and Markets’ new “Abrasives Manufacturing” report. Major companies include 3M and the U.S. divisions of several international companies. The industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate more than 85% of revenue. The global abrasives manufacturing industry generates annual revenue of about $30 billion.

Demand for manufactured industrial products is reportedly the major driver of sales for abrasives. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective marketing, as many products are considered commodities. Larger companies can make large investments in new technology. Small companies can compete effectively by specializing in products for particular manufacturing functions.

Imports account for about 25% of the U.S. market; the largest suppliers to the U.S. are China, Canada, and Germany. Exports, which make up about 15% of U.S. production, go mainly to Canada, Mexico, and Germany. The industry is capital-intensive: annual sales per employee are about $300,000.

For additional i­nformation, visit


Asia-Pacific to Drive Global Smartphone Touch Screen Modules Market

The global market for touch screen modules in mobile devices is projected to be 1.3 billion units by 2018, driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones worldwide, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc. Feature phones currently represent the largest application for touch screen modules in mobile devices; however, smartphones are expected to register the fastest growth. Projected capacitive touch screens represent the largest market for touch screen modules in mobile devices, and are expected to increase their share in future.

The post-recession world market for touch screen mobiles reportedly received the strongest growth in developing markets such as the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Asia-Pacific, in particular, emerged as the largest and the fastest growing regional market for touch screen phones and is expected to register a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% over the analysis period. Thriving economies, growing employment opportunities, rising income levels, continuous development of cellular markets, and increasing spending power in major countries are driving high demand for touch screens in the region.

As home to two of the most populous countries, China and India, which have a large section of middle-class consumers, Asia-Pacific is proving to be a hotbed for growth of touch screen mobile market. Huge latent demand, due to relatively lower per capita ownership in the region compared to developed markets, also makes the region a highly lucrative market with enormous growth potential.

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Global Fuel Cell Stack Supply Chain Value to Reach $2.2 Billion by 2017

The fuel cell supply chain, made up of companies that provide high-quality, economically competitive critical components for the fuel cell stack, is an area that has been somewhat overlooked. Indeed, the fuel cell industry faces a fundamental quandary: without a growing industry, the supply chain cannot benefit from component standardization, volume manufacturing and cost-downs.

In terms of cost-downs and volume manufacturing, however, the fuel cell industry has limited growth potential, which could limit the development of a robust and expanding network of suppliers. The entire fuel cell stack supply chain was worth only a little more than $200 million in 2011, according to a new report from Pike Research. By 2017, however, that figure will grow to $2.2 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 58.5%.

“The development of a thriving supply chain for fuel cell technology is not a given,” said Kerry-Ann Adamson, research director. “While the focus of R&D in the fuel cell industry has expanded to include deployment and performance issues, such as durability and startup time, the supply chain has been assumed to be able to meet demand when and as needed. This could be a dangerous assumption as the industry continues to expand.”

Assuming the availability of significant investment for capital equipment, growth in the supply chain for fuel cells is expected to be spread evenly across the globe, Adamson said. Leading the world in absolute numbers will be Europe, with $944 million in revenue forecast for 2017. This industry, however, is some years from internal cash generation that can sustain the anticipated sales growth without external financing. Beyond the next three years, continued growth in manufacturing capacity and further progress down the cost curve will require significant investments in capital equipment to support advanced manufacturing processes.

Pike Research reportedly anticipates significant attrition among fuel cell developers and suppliers over the next 3-5 years. Those companies that survive this shakeout will likely emerge stronger and better prepared to take on the challenges of building a multi-billion-dollar global industry.

For additional information, visit

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