Specialty silica demand will continue to be strong in 2016, fuelled by its wide-ranging applications in the rubber and plastics industry. Global demand will reach 3,188.1 KT (thousand tonnes) in 2016, up by 3.7% y-o-y, representing market value worth US$ 5.6 Bn.
Rubber industry will continue to be the largest application segment for specialty silicas in 2016, accounting for 1,933.0 KT. Use of specialty silica in tyre manufacturing will drive demand, as focus on improving fuel-efficiency of automobiles continues to gain momentum. Plastics will be the second largest application segment, representing a revenue share of 8.8% in 2016.
Precipitated silica will continue to witness the highest demand on the basis of product type, with total consumption set to reach 2,280.3 KT in 2016. Precipitated silica is a highly sought-after performance additive in tyre manufacturing, representing 70.7% worth of revenues in 2015. By 2016, global precipitated silica revenues are anticipated to reach US$ 3,997.5 Mn.
Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) will remain the largest specialty silicas market in 2016, accounting for 1,315.8 KT in volume. High demand for speciality silica from the rubber sector, including footwear, industrial & mechanical rubber, and automotive tyres will continue to create sustained demand for specialty silica in the region.
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China is expected to continue its dominance as a major supplier for specialty silica in the global market in 2016 and beyond. To cater to the rising demand, China-based manufacturers are ramping up their production capacity. Global companies are following suit by setting up manufacturing bases in China. While regional Chinese players are increasing their capacity for conventional silica, global players are focusing on high-performance product grades, such as highly dispersible silica (HDS) that require use of advanced technical manufacturing process.
Evonik AG, Solvay SA and Huber Engineered Materials are the leading players in the specialty silica market. These players are highly focused in expanding their market shares for high-end products and applications. This strategy of these players has made the market for high-performance products extremely consolidated. For instance, Solvay SA alone supplies over 50% HDS that’s currently in use for manufacturing fuel-efficient tyres.
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Long-term Outlook: FMI maintains a positive long-term outlook on the specialty silica market, projecting the market to increase at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period 2016-2026. Asia Pacific will remain the largest market throughout the forecast period, increasing at a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period.