US pipe demand is forecast to grow at 2% pa to 11 billion feet in 2013 as per a study by Freedonia.
Gains will be boosted by a rebounding construction sector, the growing obsolescence of sewer and drainage systems, and needs to upgrade municipal water systems. Plastic and aluminum pipe will exhibit above average growth due to opportunities in drain/sewer and other markets. Plastic pipe demand will be stimulated by growing applications, as well as resin and processing improvements.
Construction will account for 56% of all pipe used based on diverse drain, sewer, water distribution and other applications. Good growth is also expected for energy pipe in light of continued demand for oil and natural gas as fuel and feedstocks. Demand for plastic pipe is expected to rise 2.3% pa to 5 billion feet in 2013, creating demand for more than 9 billion pounds of resin. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will account for nearly two-thirds of all plastic pipe demand with growth stimulated by improved joining technologies and resins such as molecularly oriented PVC. High density polyethylene pipe will exhibit the fastest plastic pipe growth, driven by opportunities in potable water and corrugated pipe. Plastic advances will reflect performance enhancements, including greater use of bimodal polyethylene. Reinforced thermosets and other resins will expand at a slower pace due to mature markets and more specialized uses.
Concrete pipe demand will increase 2% pa to 180 million feet in 2013 due to renewed construction activity and pent-up demand for the upgrading of infrastructural pipe systems. Storm sewers will remain the leading concrete pipe application, with water distribution posting faster growth. Steel pipe demand will register solid gains due to growing demand for line pipe and oil country tubular goods in light of growth in the development and distribution of natural gas and petroleum. Copper pipe demand will be stimulated by renewed growth in service and distribution pipe, yet constrained by slow advances in the refrigeration segment. Cast iron pipe demand will grow slowly due to mature applications and competition from plastic pipe.
Construction pipe demand will be fueled by a rebound in residential building construction. Energy pipe demand will benefit from continued drilling activity, as well as the replacement and expansion of energy transmission pipelines. Demand for refrigeration tubing will be constrained by slow growth in household appliance and commercial refrigeration equipment shipments.