Press Release Summary: Global fluorochemical demand is projected to advance over three percent annually to 2.9 million metric tons in 2011, benefitting from the continued expansion of the global economy. Rising income levels and advancing manufacturing sectors are directing most of these gains to industrializing countries, whose fluorochemical markets are also benefitting from a less restrictive regulatory environment. More aggressive regulations are restraining fluorochemical consumption in developed countries, particularly in combination with slower manufacturing growth and higher market penetration of fluorochemical-using consumer goods.
Press Release Body: Fluorocarbons growing amidst turbulence International agreements such as the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols, in conjunction with national government regulations, are generating much flux in the fluorocarbon market. Although the ongoing phase-out for ozone depleting CFCs is nearly complete in most markets, the consumption of less damaging HCFCs continues to expand. Mirroring the historical trend in CFCs, HCFC demand has migrated from developed to developing countries, where rising income levels are supporting strong increases in consumer markets. HFC demand continues to expand strongly worldwide, although heightened concerns over climate change and competition from nonfluorinated alternatives will dampen gains in Western Europe.
Higher value products gaining prominence Outside of the volatile fluorocarbon market, growth prospects for fluorochemicals are being led by higher value products such as fluoropolymers and specialty fluorine gases. The continued advancement of manufacturing, both technologically and geographically, is generating widespread industry demand for the high performance capabilities of these fluorochemicals, particularly in the electronics and motor vehicle sectors. More modest gains will arise in commodity inorganic fluorochemicals, with much of the growth pursuing the expansion of aluminum smelting into developing markets.
Industry structure The fluorochemical industry has sizeable barriers to entry, including economies of scale needed for the profitable production of high volume products, steep research and development costs and evolving environmental regulations. As a result, much of the global supply is concentrated among a handful of major integrated companies. However, a large number of smaller players are also involved, either through the sale of high value specialty and niche products or by supplying commodity products to regional markets.
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