The global polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) market is highly concentrated and is led by large multinational corporations. Positive automotive industry outlook in emerging countries such as China, Malaysia, Brazil and India is expected to be key driving forces of the market. Special properties such as low co-efficient of friction, chemical inertness and thermal stability give an upper-hand to overall cookware, textile and construction market. Growth in industrialization, chemical industry and consumer goods and medical applications is expected to have a positive impact on the overall PTFE market growth. Use of PTFE in batteries and fuel cells is expected to be a key driving force for the market. Recycle property of them into many other products and used in manufacturing tubing, rod and sheets is expected to act favorable to the market growth.
Fluctuations in raw material prices and stringent regulatory norms are expected to pose a major challenge over the next few years. Global PTFE prices hit a record high level in the last few years owing to restrictions from Chinese government on fluorspar export. This decision by the Chinese government provoked countries including Mexico and South Africa who has huge fluorspar deposits to retain their mines to cater the growing global demand for fluorspar these reopening to some extent eased the supply. After this China and Russia restarted to export fluorspar in Europe and India at a competitive price resulting in reduction of prices by around 15%. However, global prices are expected to decrease gradually owing to steady support of fluorspar.
Granular was the dominant product segment and accounted for 33% of the global market in 2012 owing to the growing demand in construction. Granular PTFE is used as feedstock, production of rods, sheets & billets and in general molding applications due to its high molecular weight. Other important products include fine powder, micro powder and other PTFE products. Chemical properties thermal and chemical resistance gives a upper-hand to the overall market growth. Micro power PTFE is applied in elastomers, thermoplastics, coatings, grease and lubricants due its low molecular weight and it accounted for a little over 20% of the total market share in 2012.
Automotive and transportation emerged as the dominant application market and accounted for more than 25% of the global market demand in 2012. Keeping in mind environmental awareness regarding emission control and to improve efficiency by reducing overall weight of the automotive manufacturers are incorporating PTFE sheets extensively. This is expected to have a positive influence on the overall market growth. Growth in industrial & chemical, electronics, cookware, construction, textile and medical applications is also expected to be key driving forces for global PTFE market. Acceptance in innovative applications including fuel cells and photovoltaic cells is expected to drive the demand for PTFE globally. Shift of trend to renewable sources of energy, precisely solar energy is expected to act favorable to the overall market growth.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional market owing to the ease of availability of raw materials especially in China. Europe and North America regional market is expected to show a moderate growth in the next six years. Recent economic condition had an adverse effect on the growth rate of PTFE in these regions. Global PTFE market is driven by product differentiation innovations which are based on latest improving technologies. PTFE manufacturers are investing on reprocessing fluoropolymers to retain sustainability.
Research Support Specialist, USA