Global market for kaolin expected to grow 3.7% annually through 2015 to 28.4 million tonnes with market value of nearly US$4B, market researcher says; largest gains to be seen in China, forecast to become world's largest kaolin market by 2015

CLEVELAND , February 27, 2012 (press release) – The world market for kaolin is projected to grow 3.7 percent per year through 2015 to 28.4 million metric tons, valued at nearly $4.0 billion.  This represents a significant acceleration from the relative stagnation of the 2005 to 2010 period.  Growth in kaolin demand will be fueled by a generally stronger economic climate worldwide, with especially rapid growth in developing economies.  Kaolin demand in developed economies is forecast to recover from declines seen between 2005 and 2010 and post moderate growth going forward.  These and other trends are presented in World Kaolin, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.   

The largest gains will be seen in China, which alone will account for 37 percent of the growth in worldwide kaolin demand between 2010 and 2015.  Currently the world’s second largest consumer of kaolin, China will experience large-scale manufacturing growth and easily overtake the US to become the world’s largest kaolin market by 2015.  India will also see a sizable increase in kaolin demand, fueled by an economy showing significant development across the board.  India’s growth in kaolin demand will represent an acceleration of the already rapid pace of the 2005 to 2010 period, with the fastest growth occurring in the country’s paper industry.  The developed nations of the US and Japan and most of the countries in Western Europe will see weak growth through 2015, although all will post recoveries in comparison to the 2005-2010 performance.

From 2010 to 2015, demand for kaolin in all its major industrial uses is expected to rise faster than in the 2005 to 2010 period.  The paper market, which is the largest market for kaolin, will recover from declines posted over the previous decade.  Kaolin’s market share in paper production materials was hurt in recent years by increasing competition from alternative materials, most notably calcium carbonate.  That competition is expected to moderate going forward, as the market structure settles into a new norm.  By 2010, most of the economically viable substitution of other materials for kaolin had already taken place.   The second leading usage for kaolin is ceramics production, which includes sanitaryware, tableware and tile.  Ceramics were the fastest growing market for kaolin from 2005 to 2010, and are forecast to continue growing quickly, at 5.3 percent per year through 2015.

World Kaolin (published 02/2012, 235 pages) is available for $5900 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH  44143-2326.  For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail Information may also be obtained through

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