Ceramic Industry

Global Glass Fibers Market to Exceed 8.5 Million Tons by 2017

September 20, 2011

The growth of the worldwide glass fibers market will be driven by a recovery in the global economy and improving prospects in various end-use markets, specifically construction and automotive, according to “Glass Fibers,” a new study from Global Industry Analysts Inc. Technological advancements and material improvements, as well as enormous potential in Asia, particularly China and India, are likely to foster further growth in the glass fiber market.

Glass fiber has contributed significantly to facilitating advancements in construction and automotive applications. The product’s versatile performance and low cost has made it a leading reinforcement fiber in the manufacture of plastic products. With the recession affecting all sectors of the industry, the demand for glass fiber witnessed a downward slide, particularly in North America and Europe. However, the industry is registering a steady rise in demand as the global economy moves toward complete recovery. The Asia-Pacific region is the driving force for the glass fiber market and is expected to benefit immensely from the construction boom in developing countries.

The U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific dominate the global glass fiber market, according to the report. China has emerged as a force to reckon with in the global glass fiber industry, capturing more than 50% of the worldwide production capacity. An expanding domestic market and surging exports are contributing to robust growth of China’s glass fiber market. While the rise in the domestic market has been driven by consistently high GDP growth during the last decade, the export market has surged due to lower prices of Chinese glass fiber as compared to the fiber produced in developed countries such as the U.S. and Europe.

Glass wool’s superior sound absorption and thermal conductivity properties allow its extensive use in the construction industry. The insulation-grade glass fiber or glass wool market is bolstered by the rapid growth in construction activities in developing regions, growing concerns about the environment and higher usage of insulation material per unit built area. The segment growth is largely attributed to the increasing demand for lightweight, durable and non-corrosive components. Government efforts to reduce energy consumption in the construction industry are expected to provide stimulus to the glass wool market.

In addition to the construction sector, the segment is witnessing sustained demand from basic as well as high-tech industries such as electronics, automotive, construction, aircraft, and construction, among others.

Textile glass fibers are reportedly versatile, corrosion-resistant and low-cost materials that are used in both reinforced and non-reinforced applications. The expanding use of textile glass fibers in electronic and electrical, and telecommunication sectors offers growth opportunities for the glass fiber market participants. In the U.S., the demand for textile glass fibers is expected to grow at a steady rate led by emerging opportunities in the field of reinforced plastics, as well as asphalt construction products such as shingles. However, growth in the U.S. market is limited due to the growing maturity of various end-use applications and the rising threat of low-cost imports from Asian countries, specifically China.

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