Global consumption of soda ash fell by 7.6% in 2009 to 44 mt, following growth of 4.2% per year between 2000 and 2008, according to a new study from Roskill Information Services Ltd. Consumers in the glass industry, which accounts for 53% of total demand, scaled back purchases during the global economic downturn. The decline was compounded by lower detergent and chemical output, the other major end uses for soda ash.
Emerging economies have previously driven growth for soda ash over the last decade, with rising GDP and urbanization leading to higher per capita use of products manufactured using soda ash. China was one of only a few countries showing a positive increase in soda ash consumption in 2009 and was responsible for 90% of world growth between 2000 and 2009. In industrialized economies, however, demand for soda ash has been flat due to the maturity of products using soda ash in the market, as well as substitution and competition pressures.
Future demand for soda ash, forecast to grow at 3% per year over the next five years, will be led by flat glass, detergents and water treatment. The use of soda ash in mining and metals and flue gas desulphurization might also spur increased demand. Emerging economies, particularly China and the wider Southeast Asia region, but also the Middle East, South Asia and South America, will continue to provide the best opportunities for soda ash demand growth on a regional basis. The outlook for developed economies is more uncertain.
For more information, call (44) 20-8944-0066 or visit www.roskill.com/soda-ash