Zinc Chemicals, Inorganic
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Published: February 2010
The zinc chemicals industry has been hit hard on a global level by the economic crisis that started in 2008 because of its dependence on the automotive industry, which experienced a particularly strong decrease in production volume. Zinc chemicals suffered the strongest in the area of rubber compounding for tires, which makes up about 20% of the total consumption of zinc chemicals globally. In addition, a large part of the rubber that is not consumed in the tire segment goes into other automotive applications.
The second-largest application area for zinc chemicals is the production of tiles, ceramics and glass. This is another industry sector that experienced strong decline in the past two years, in particular in North America, Europe, and the CIS countries. In Europe, the ceramics segment is under pressure, not only because of the bad economic environment, but also because of lower-cost competition from China, India and Brazil.
The following pie charts show world consumption of the three major zinc chemicals.
In the mid- to long term, however, the zinc chemical industry will continue to grow globally. Automobile production numbers are predicted to approximately double by 2030, as the increasing standard of living of a substantial part of highly populated countries like China, India, and Brazil will lead to increased car ownership and increasing use of ceramics in construction, thus increasing the consumption of zinc chemicals.
In addition, zinc chemicals are expected to show dramatic growth in the fertilizer area. In many studies, and at a pilot project in Turkey, it has been shown that agricultural yields in zinc-deficient regions can be increased by adding zinc to standard fertilizers and premixes. Widespread- and medium-zinc-deficient world regions include large parts of the United States, as well as Central and South American countries, central African countries and South Africa, India, the Middle East and China. If zinc fertilization were to become standard in these world regions, world consumption of zinc chemicals could double in the next ten to fifteen years.
Zinc chemical markets are also impacted by the price of zinc. Consumption of zinc chemicals in 2005–2006 was negatively impacted by the dramatic increase in zinc prices during the period. In 2007 the price of zinc started to decline with the onset of the economic downturn and hit a low of around $1,000 per metric ton at the end of 2008/early 2009. The price has been recovering since.
This marketing research report covers the major zinc chemicals of commercial importance—zinc oxide, zinc sulfate and zinc chloride.