LEATHERHEAD UK - Worldwide high-performance pigment (HPP) consumption is currently estimated at 136,600 tonnes and expected to reach 175,200 tonnes by 2015, according to a new study by IntertechPira.

According to the study, rising oil and raw materials prices, coupled with the economic climate, are significant challenges for the high-performance pigments market. But in spite of this, long-term demand for HPPs will continue to grow, especially in some important markets, such as the printing inks and packaging segments.

IntertechPira predicts average global growth for HPPs in excess of four percent for both volume and value over the next five years. Much of this growth is due to the increase in demand for cleaner, brighter colors with high resistance properties. However, with more competition in the market, and with the entrance of new players, pricing is under severe pressure, which is allowing for the use of HPPs in new applications.

The report, The Future of High Performance Pigments III – Market Forecasts to 2015, provides a detailed analysis of the current and future demand for high-performance pigments on a global scale over the next five years. Breaking down market forecasts by end-use sector, geographic region and pigment type, the study also addresses market drivers such as the dramatic increase from Chinese manufacturers, the effect of REACH legislation on the pigment industry, availability of raw materials and technology issues.

According to IntertechPira, Asia is the largest regional market by sales value, with total forecast sales in 2015 of $1.64 billion, followed closely by Europe, with sales of $1.58 billion. North America is the third-largest market, with sales expected to amount to just over $1 billion in 2015. Asia will command 37.3 percent of the global market, Europe 36 percent and North America 23.2 percent.

By individual country, average annual growth rates for HPP sales volumes to 2015 range from 1.1 percent in the Iberian region to 8.3 percent in Russia. Not surprisingly, emerging markets show more robust performances than established ones, with the possible exceptions of the Benelux region and Germany, where IntertechPira forecasts average annual growth to be 4.5 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. The largest country market for HPPs is the United States, which accounts for around 20 percent of the global HPPs industry, both by value and volume.

China is the biggest pigment producer in the world with rapidly increasing output in recent years. IntertechPira predicts that pigment output there will reach 2.4 million tonnes in 2010. China is also the biggest pigment exporter. Exports of pigments reached 1.1 million tonnes in 2009. Yet China’s pigment industry is driven mainly by its thriving downstream industries, such as coating, ink, plastic, rubber, papermaking and textiles. The country’s coating industry, for instance, which consumes close to half of all home-made pigments, is experiencing output growth of 20 percent year on year.

According to IntertechPira, the largest end-use sector, by some margin, is coatings. Sales of coatings are forecast to reach 97,900 tonnes in 2015, or 55.8 percent of the total market. This is followed by the plastics segment, which is forecast to account for 39,100 tonnes of HPP sales in 2015, or 22.3 percent of the total.

The two smallest end-use markets, non-impact printing (NIP) and electronics, are each forecast to show pigment sales levels of less than 2,000 tonnes. IntertechPira expects sales into the NIP segment to stand at just over 1,000 tonnes in 2015 and those into the electronics industry at 1,500 tonnes, representing average annual growth for the six years 2009–2015 of just over 60 percent in each case. This makes them the fastest growing end-use sectors among the eight categories covered by this forecast.

The Future of High Performance Pigments III – Market Forecasts to 2015 is available now. For further information, contact Bill Allen on +44 (0)1372 802086, or via e-mail at william.allen@pira-international.com.