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According to “World Kaolin,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, global demand for kaolin is forecast to grow 1.7% per year to 24.8 million metric tons (Mt) in 2013, exceeding the growth achieved between 2003 and 2008. Demand for kaolin in paper production is expected to improve, offsetting an expected slowdown in the ceramics market. In general, kaolin demand in advanced economies is projected to recover from the declines of the 2003-2008 period, while demand in the faster-growing emerging markets will decelerate somewhat.
Developing countries are becoming increasingly important to global kaolin demand. Strong demand gains in China, as well as other developing countries in Asia, are expected to account for the majority of global kaolin demand in 2013, with China alone accounting for over one-half of the global gain. China is forecast to surpass the U.S. as the largest market for kaolin by 2013, as its kaolin consumption continues to grow faster than that of any other major national market. China’s market for kaolin in paper is forecast to lead gains, driven by a rapidly expanding domestic paper industry. Imports into China are expected to grow especially fast, as the country’s kaolin consumption outpaces production.
International trade in kaolin is widespread, with approximately one-half of kaolin being consumed outside its country of origin in 2008. This is due, in part, to the concentration of kaolin production in the U.S. and Brazil. By 2013, Brazil is expected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s leading exporter of kaolin, gaining market share in Western Europe and Asia at the expense of the UK and the U.S. Brazil boasts sizable deposits of high-quality kaolin, making it economical to produce kaolin there, despite the additional shipping costs.
For additional information, visit www.freedoniagroup.com.