World demand for paints and coatings is forecast to rise 3.5% per year through 2007 to 28.8 million metric tons, according to a new study by The Freedonia Group Inc. In value terms, production gains over the same period are projected at 5.0% per year to more than $83 billion, with average prices rising due to stronger prospects for higher quality, environmentally friendlier products, such as powder and radiation-cure coatings.

Volume gains in global paints and coatings demand will register a marked improvement over the 1997 to 2002 period due to a healthy and sustained expansion in GDP and fixed investment. Rapid growth in the world's urban population will also continue to put a strain on the existing housing stock, prompting spending at both the public and private levels. These and other trends are presented in the Cleveland-based Freedonia Group's World Paints & Coatings study.

The most rapid gains will arise in the world's emerging markets, most prominently the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan), although Latin America and Eastern Europe are also forecast to experience growth significantly above the global average. Gains in Asia are based primarily on continued expansion in the Chinese market, already the largest in Asia after overtaking Japan in the early part of the new century. India, South Korea and Taiwan also hold strong prospects, particularly in construction-related markets.

Growth in demand for paints and coatings in North America and Western Europe will continue to lag the global average, although these two regions will still account for almost half the global market in 2007, despite being home to less than 13% of the world's population. Demand is forecast to expand 2.7% per year through 2007 in North America, with slower gains in the United States and Canada being offset to a certain extent by healthy demand from Mexico's emerging paint market. The West European market for paints and coatings is projected to increase only 2.3% per year through 2007, although this will still mark an improvement over the 1997 to 2002 period.

For more information about World Paints & Coatings, contact The Freedonia Group at 440-684-9600 or