FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Improved outlooks in North America and Western Europe, which suffered significant downturns during the recession, will impact the silicone market over the next three years, according to an industry analyst.
Kent Furst, manager of industry research firm Freedonia Group's polymers and materials department, said that world demand for silicones is expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent per year to 2017, to just under $19 billion.
Furst served as the keynote speaker at the 2014 International Silicone Conference, held May 20-21 at the Hilton Inn in Fairlawn.
According to Furst, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to remain the world's largest market for silicones. It is projected to account for more than 40 percent of global demand on value, and it will be the fastest growing region.
Silicone prices on average are expected to grow at a slower pace compared to the 2007-12 period, Furst said.
Gross domestic product in all world regions grew at a steady pace from 2002-07 until the onset of the global financial crisis, which, Furst said, triggered recessions in most parts of the world. The notable exception was China, which continued to see double digit GDP growth even in 2009.
Most economies have recovered since the recession, but Furst said it was not as significant as initially projected. The sovereign debt crisis led to a double dip recession in many Western European countries.
Through 2017, Furst projects that global GDP will grow by 4 percent per year, and most world regions will return to the normal growth rate in place prior to the recession.