Volumes in the global ammonium sulfate market will grow at a CAGR of 2% from 2015 to 2022 (forecast period). They are anticipated to reach 30 million tons by 2022. Demand for fertilizers is escalating on account of growing population and diminishing arable land across the world. This is a key market driver.
The recent trend of increasing soil’s nutritional contents to improve crop yields is expected to favor demand. Moreover, higher consumption of bakery foods & confectionaries across North America & Europe would aid growth. However, strict regulations, particularly in the developed markets of France, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom, may pose a challenge.
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The ammonium sulfate market is categorized as per applications, products, and regions. Applications encompass industrial use, fertilizers, food additives, and others. Fertilizers occupied 90% of the total market volumes in 2014. They would maintain their leadership during the forecast period.
Ammonium sulfate is suitable for alkaline soils with low pH. It is high in sulfur and quickly absorbed by plants. As a fertilizer, ammonium sulfate is widely added to flooded soils for producing rice. As a food additive it plays the role of an acidity regulator in bread and flours. Other common food products that have ammonium sulfate are bagels, English muffins, noodles, etc.
Solid and liquid constitute the product segments. Fluid fertilizers comprise liquids with suspended solids or clear liquids. Liquid fertilizers held about 20% of the total U.S. fertilizer revenues. Nitrogen solutions, ammonium polyphosphate, and anhydrous ammonia are the common liquid fertilizers. Solid ammonium sulfate fertilizers are water-soluble by nature. They accounted for almost 75% of the total consumption in 2014.
Regional markets include North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, MEA (Middle East & Africa), and Central & South America. North America has garnered considerable revenues in the years gone by. Asia-Pacific, with volumes exceeding 35%, dominated the global ammonium sulfate market in 2014. Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and other South-east Asian markets should grow rapidly in the coming years.
Entry of new participants in the global market is restricted by the stringent regulatory and legislative environment. Prominent vendors are DSM Chemicals, Honeywell International, Inc., BASF SE, and Tereos S.A., among others. Leading players produce their own raw materials to avoid demand-supply imbalance, increase profits and lower operational costs.