As per the findings of a recent report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global sulfuric acid market is highly fragmented in nature, with top three players, PotashCrop, Vale Fertilizers, and The Mosaic Company, managing merely 10.5% of the overall shares in 2014. This highly competitive landscape, however, is marred by a sluggish growth, and there are very few new entrants aspiring a foray, owing to the capital-sensitive nature of the market as well as growing concerns regarding the hazardous effects of sulfuric acid.
As per the projections of the TMR report, the demand in the global sulfuric acid market will increment at a moderate CAGR of 2.6% during the forecast period of 2015 to 2023, reaching an estimated valuation of US$85.4 bn by the end of 2023, slightly up from its evaluated worth of US$67.9 bn in 2014. In the near future, the participants are expected to change the pace of the market as well as earn higher revenues via mergers and acquisitions and development of high-performance products. Companies are also focused on earning customer faith in order to build a relationship and gain repeated demand. Developments in this market are primarily related to the formulation of new products that can reduce the carbon footprint.
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Chemical Synthesis Segment Primed to Dislodge Fertilizers from Pole Position
Application-wise, the report segments the global sulfuric acid market into chemical synthesis, fertilizers, wastewater treatment, metal and mining, and others such as pharmaceutical and paper and pulp. Currently, fertilizers segment serves the maximum demand, accounting for 60% in 2014. It always has been and is expected to remain highly profitable throughout the forecast period, gaining consistent demand for the manufacturing of phosphate fertilizers, which are extensively used for modern day agriculture. On the other hand, the growing usage of sulfuric acid in 20 different chemical processes is expected to collectively dislodge fertilizers from being the most important segment in the near future. Sulfuric acid is now commonly used for the manufacturing of sulfate salts, nitric acid, explosives, hydrochloric acid, and pharmaceuticals.
Asia Pacific Remains Most Profitable Region
Both in terms of volume and value, the region of Asia Pacific continues to serve the maximum demand in the global sulfuric acid market, accounting for 50% of the shares in the global market in 2014. This extended demand from APAC is a reflection of increasing adoption of sulfuric acid in various processes of chemical and fertilizers, availability of affordable labor, thriving agriculture sector with vast population base, increasing foreign investments, and flexible regulatory set by the government. China, India, Brazil, and Japan are identified by the report as most lucrative country-wide markets for sulfuric acid. As far as North America and Europe are concerned, the market will register steady growth with growing demand for sulfuric acid based products.
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Diverse Applications Driving Demand
Increase in the production of nutrient-rich food crops, escalating food requirements due to growing population across the world, and steady and sustained demand for sulfuric acid due to diversified applications are three of the primary drivers of the global sulfuric acid market. On the other hand, weaker sales due to surplus in the market and strict environmental regulations against to toxic aspects of sulfuric acid is somewhat challenging the market from attaining its true potential. Nevertheless, the vendors of sulfuric acid market are expected to gain opportunities from the growing use of oleum, provided they can manage the volatility in raw material prices and the difficulties pertaining to the transportation of sulfuric acid.