Freedonia Group has forecast 4.7% annual growth in global demand for flame retardants in the five years to 2011, up from a rate of 4.1% in the 2001-2006 period. This will lift demand from 1.75 bln tons in 2006 to 2.21 bln tons in 2011, when the market value is expected to be US$4.8bn (€3.2bn).
Demand will be boosted by increased use of flame retardants in developing countries, as they adopt more stringent flammability regulations, and also as plastics consumption in general rises.
The Asia-Pacific region was the largest consuming region for flame retardants in 2006 at 633 mln tons and this market will grow at an annual rate of 7.3% to reach 900 mln tons in 2011. China will account for much of the region's growth, but other countries, including South Korea and Taiwan, will also increase their demand above the world average rate. Market strength in Asia-Pacific is largely due to exports of manufactured goods to countries with high standards on flammability.
An improvement in market growth for flame retardants in North America and Western Europe is being forecast. Demand in North America is set to reach 618 mln tons in 2011, growing at annual rate of 3.2% compared with 1.2% in the 2001-2006 period. In Western Europe, the market forecast is a growth rate of 2.2% to reach 515 mln tons in 2011, while the rate was only 1.5% in 2001-2006.
Alumina trihydrate was the largest volume flame retardant used in 2006, accounting for one-third of global demand. Fastest growth is expected in phosphorus compounds due to more favourable environmental and health profiles. Nonetheless it argued, brominated flame retardants will continue to rise at "a healthy pace" because of their low price and superior performance.