Global consumption of asphalt is forecast to increase 4.1% annually from a very weak 2010 base to 119.5 million metric tons in 2015, equivalent to 725 million barrels of primary asphalt.
High petroleum prices combined with economic weakness and declining construction activity resulted in a significant drop in consumption in many of the world’s most developed asphalt markets between 2005 and 2010. Demand in these markets, including North America, Western Europe and Japan, is expected to rebound through 2015. Paving products accounted for nearly 80% of total asphalt demand in 2010. These and other trends are presented in World Asphalt, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Gains will be most rapid in North America, where the market for asphalt is expected to expand 6.5% per annum to 36.6 million metric tons in 2015. Demand for asphalt in both paving and roofing applications will be driven by the recovering U.S. economy and increasing construction activity in the country. The region is a significant consumer of primary asphalt due to the size of the U.S. and Canadian road networks and the dominant position of asphalt materials in the North American roofing market.
The massive infrastructure development programs in China and India, two of the world’s fastest growing economies, will continue to drive strong growth in the Asia/Pacific region. Since 2005, the region has become the largest market for asphalt. China alone will account for nearly one-fifth of global asphalt demand in 2015. Strong growth in asphalt markets in India and a moderate recovery in demand for asphalt in Japan also will contribute to gains.
Consumption of asphalt in Western Europe is forecast to increase 1.8% annually through 2015 to over 22 million metric tons. The region will construct new roads at one of the slowest paces in the world. Paving asphalt consumed in road repair and maintenance applications will account for the majority of gains.