Global demand for magnesium hydroxide will grow by 4.6% in 2016 to reach 943,304 metric tonnes. China – the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of magnesium hydroxide – will maintain its numero uno position as the market leader, with total revenues expected to reach US$ 143.4 Mn, up from US$ 133 Mn in 2015. Environmental uses, including wastewater treatment and flue gas desulphurisation – will continue to spur demand in 2016, representing 47.1% share of total revenues.
While environmental uses will contribute to sustain demand, applications as flame retardants will provide opportunities for high growth. Halogenated flame retardants are facing increasing scrutiny, prompting end-use industries to look for alternatives, such as magnesium hydroxide based flame retardants. The flame retardants application segment is projected to increase at 4.4% in 2016, and account for 21.8% share of overall revenues.
Demand will also be supported by widening applications of magnesium hydroxide in the pulp and paper industry as a neutralising agent. Magnesium hydroxide is gaining traction as a cost-effective neutralising agent in both mechanical and chemical bleaching processes – a trend that will become stronger in 2016 and beyond.
While China will bolster the magnesium hydroxide market in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ), demand is expected to remain moderate in North America and Europe. Impact of applications in paper manufacturing – a key driving factor in APEJ – will be less pronounced in North America and Europe, owing to shift from print to digital media. High reconfiguration costs involved in replacing caustic soda with magnesium hydroxide for treating wastewater is a key challenge for players in the market.
Xinyang Mineral Group, Premier Magnesia LLC, and Konoshima Chemicals are the prominent players in the global magnesium hydroxide market. The key strategy of these players is to establish strong position in the robustly growing flame retardant market through application-specific product offering.
Long-term Outlook: The global magnesium hydroxide market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period 2016-2026, totalling US$ 1,024 Mn in revenues. APEJ will continue to remain the largest market, with a revenue share of 38.1% in 2026.