The global sulfuric acid market appears to be fragmented with top three players accounting for a mere 10.5% share of the overall market in 2014. These are The Mosaic Company, Vale Fertilizers, and PotashCrop. The market displays a low degree of competition due to capital-intensive nature of the market and rising concerns about the detrimental effects of sulfuric acid on the environment, says a new report by Transparency Market Research (TMR).
“Mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances are the key growth strategies that top players in this market are focused on for higher revenues,” says the lead author of the study. The introduction of high-performance products and building valued customer relationships are also the focus of top players in this market. For example, The Mosaic Company is focused on maximizing output by minimizing its carbon footprint. The opportunity in the global market for sulfuric acid is expected to be worth US$85.4 bn by 2023 increasing from US$67.9 bn in 2014 at a CAGR of 2.6% between 2015 and 2023.
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Agrarian Economies of Asia Pacific Exhibit High Demand for Sulfuric Acid for Use in Fertilizers
The incessant growth of the chemicals market in China is one of the primary growth drivers of the sulfuric acid market. With continual investments from other countries in this market, China is expected to steer the growth of the global sulfuric acid market in the coming years. Currently, China is producing 45,000 chemicals and is in a position to lead the chemicals market and its ancillary markets in the coming years.
The demand for sulfuric acid is expected to be on the rise, especially in developing countries as they are majorly agrarian economies that require a large volume of phosphate fertilizers. In 2014, phosphate fertilizers accounted for almost 50% consumption of sulfuric acid globally. In particular, in Asia Pacific, the demand for phosphate fertilizers is expected to rise in the future as agriculture accounts for a considerable GDP in several countries. With increasing government support in these countries to increase agricultural output, the demand for sulfuric acid will increase indirectly.
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On the flip side, volatile prices of feedstock such as sulfur, crude oil, and natural gas are challenging the market’s growth. As sulfur is also obtained during the refining of crude oil and processing of natural gas, any changes in the prices of these commodities directly impact the price of sulfur. Furthermore, regulatory stipulations dissuade the usage of sulfuric acid and sulfur dioxide as they are harmful to human health, which is further negatively impacting the market’s growth.
However, development of alternate methods for obtaining sulfur is expected to be exceptionally beneficial for the market. This will eliminate dependency on crude oil and their volatile prices that impact prices of sulfur products. Leading companies such as ExxonMobil Corporation, Bahrain Petroleum Company B.S.C, and Bechtel Corporation are investing heavily in developing these newer methodologies to reduce undesired emissions while recovering sulfur.
Chemical Synthesis to Supersede Fertilizers in Future
Fertilizers are the largest application segment of the global sulfuric acid market. In 2014, the segment held a whopping 60% share in the overall market. However, the chemical synthesis segment is expected to supersede in the near future. Sulfuric acid is used in more than 20 chemical processes, which will favor the growth of the sulfuric acid market. Sulfuric acid is used in the manufacture of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfate salts, and drugs amongst others.
Asia Pacific held 50% of the market in 2014 due to which it stands as the clear leader in the market. The region is expected to remain the leading one due to a high concentration of chemicals industries in China.
The global sulfuric acid market is segmented as follows:
Sulfuric Acid Market – Application Analysis
The review presented is based on a Transparency Market Research report, titled “Sulfuric Acid Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 – 2023.”