This study analyzes the world flat glass industry. It presents historical demand data for the years 2001, 2006 and 2011, and forecasts for 2016 and 2021 by product type (e.g., flat glass, fabricated flat glass), market (e.g., nonresidential building construction, residential building construction, OEM motor vehicle, motor vehicle replacement), world region and major country. The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles industry players.
Global flat glass demand to increase 6.3% annually through 2016
World demand for flat glass is forecast to rise 6.3 percent per year through 2016 to 8.3 billion square meters. Maintaining the trend seen over the 2001-2011 period, demand will easily outpace real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) gains in the global economy. Gains in the dominant construction sector will be stimulated by an acceleration in building construction spending. The global market value of fabricated flat glass is forecast to exceed $100 billion in 2016.
Asia/Pacific region to remain largest & fastest growing market
The Asia/Pacific region, which accounted for 55 percent of global flat glass demand (on a square meter basis) in 2011, will continue to post the fastest gains through 2016. Gains in the region’s dominant national market of China will slow in comparison to the pace of the 2006-2011 period, but remain well above the world average. The Japanese market will exhibit a significant improvement based on recovering domestic building construction and motor vehicle sectors.
US demand for flat glass will recover strongly based on a healthy expansion in the country’s battered building construction sector. Building construction spending in the US in 2011 was just a little over one-half of levels seen in 2006. Despite seeing positive economic growth in 2010 and 2011 after a major recession, the US building construction sector witnessed further declines in both those years. Some recovery has been seen in 2012, suggesting that the worst may be over.
The West European market for flat glass will see the weakest gains among all regions through 2016. A slow growing population combined with a stagnant motor vehicle industry will limit gains in glass demand. A number of float glass plants in the region closed in 2012, suggesting that major glassmakers are shifting focus elsewhere.
Energy efficient products to boost flat glass demand
Fabricated flat glass demand will benefit from rapid growth in sales of energy efficient products such as solar control, insulation and low-e glass. The solar energy market, which was hurt by recent global economic weaknesses, will take off briskly once again. It should be noted, however, that demand for flat glass used in solar energy applications totaled just 100 million square meters in 2012, so this is a niche market.
Profiles global industry players including Asahi Glass, Guardian Industries, Nippon Sheet Glass, and Saint-Gobain
This study covers the world flat glass industry. The study presents two unit measurements for flat glass -- square meters (for demand and production) and metric tons (for production and capacity). Production data reflect primarily float glass, but also include sheet glass, rolled glass, plate glass, and specialty types of flat glass such as patterned glass. Capacity figures include only float glass and, where noted, patterned glass. Conversely, fabricated flat glass demand, presented in current US dollars, includes both basic glass as well as all fabricated products produced from flat glass, including processed materials such as laminated, tempered, and insulating glass, as well as value-added products such as automotive windshields and mirrors. Thus, the dollar values presented per square meter of flat glass in each country and region include the inherent value added by fabrication, and thus are not equivalent to actual selling prices, particularly for basic glass.
Historical data are provided for 2001, 2006, and 2011, with forecasts for 2016 and 2021. Float glass capacity figures are as of year-end 2011. Capacity expansion data included in this study are based on announcements as of December 2012. Tabular details may not add to totals due to independent rounding. Ratios may be rounded to the nearest significant digit.
Macroeconomic and demographic indicators presented in this study were obtained from The Freedonia Group Consensus Forecasts dated June 2012. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) historical data are derived from the national income and products accounts from the Organisation for Economic Co- Operation and Development (OECD) for its member countries, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for its member countries, and from the International Monetary Fund for its member countries that are not part of the OECD or EBRD. Sources of GDP estimates for other countries are based on information from the World Bank and a variety of sources including the countries’ statistical bureaus. GDP forecasts are developed from a consensus of public agencies and private firms.
All estimates of gross domestic product and components of GDP are done in terms of constant purchasing power parity in a benchmark year (2010) that is one year before the base year (2011) used in this study. Purchasing power parity GDP estimates for the benchmark year are obtained from the OECD; Eurostat; the World Bank; the International Monetary Fund; the US Central Intelligence Agency; and selected other sources. These purchasing power parity GDP estimates for the benchmark year are based on gross domestic product data expressed in the individual countries’ local currencies, which are then converted to US dollars by valuing each country’s output at US prices in the benchmark year. This approach values the same physical output at a consistent price for all countries, thereby reducing the distorting influence of different price levels in the different countries. The alternative approach of using exchange rates to convert local currency GDP to US dollars would tend to overvalue the output of countries with high average price levels and undervalue the output of countries with low average price levels, because exchange rate conversions only partially reflect the relative prices for goods and services that are domestically consumed and invested. Furthermore, factors other than relative prices, such as demand and supply in currency markets, interest rates, and capital flows, affect exchange rates.
Once the GDP values for a country are estimated for the benchmark year, we then calculate inflation-adjusted GDP for all other years for that country based on historical and forecast growth rates of GDP expressed in inflationadjusted units of that country’s local currency. This approach ensures that the GDP series for any given country is an accurate index of changes in inflationadjusted GDP for that country. However, it also implicitly assumes that the price structures across countries do not change from those of the benchmark year. Therefore, caution should be used in comparing the relative GDP of countries in years other than the benchmark year. If the ratio of prices across two countries in a given year differs from the ratio of prices across those countries in the benchmark year, then the change in the relative sizes of those two economies as measured will not accurately reflect changes in output.
The benchmark year is chosen to be one year prior to the base year for the study for reasons of data availability. One benefit of that choice is that the ratio of prices across countries in the base year is usually similar to that in the benchmark year. Therefore, the ratio of real GDP between two countries in the base year of 2011 is generally a reasonably accurate representation of the relative sizes of their economies.
Data on world flat glass supply and demand are derived from differing sources and developed from statistical relationships. As a result, variations are commonplace in this type of international reporting, and, consequently, data presented in this study are historically consistent but may differ from other sources. Variances may occur because of definitional differences, undistributed exports, inventory accumulation, and goods-in-transit, among other reasons. Throughout the study, data are related to indicators in the tables. This is done for comparative purposes and to facilitate further analysis. Details in the tables may not add to totals due to independent rounding, and calculated ratios may reflect unrounded numbers.