While the overall lime production and consumption scenario has been foreseen to remain positive over the next eight years, Persistence Market Research anticipates that the global lime market will exhibit sluggish growth over 2018-2026. Sustained production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals is anticipated to forestall the lime market decline through the next few years, further supported by decently increasing decently growing demand for building materials owing to swift infrastructural development and construction activities – especially in emerging economies.
Estimated to expand at a passive CAGR of 2.5% CAGR over 2018-2026, the global lime market is anticipated to approach the value of US$ 50 Bn by the end of 2026. Leading lime market players, especially from SEA, Oceania, and Europe, are presumed to continue major import of low-cost lime and intermediates from China. The lime market is slated to witness the relatively higher expansion of SEA region throughout the forecast period, resulting in various growth opportunities for key players.
A Sizeable Application Base in Automotive, Chemical, Building & Construction, Agriculture, Waste Water Treatment, and Metallurgy to Uphold Lime Sales
“With a dominating revenue share in the global lime market, mining and metallurgy applications will continue to encourage sales of lime throughout the assessment period. Significant consumption of quicklime by agriculture, construction, chemical, metallurgy, and water treatment industries is expected to remain the key factor retaining the dominance of quicklime in the global lime market,” quotes an Expert Research Analyst (Chemicals Domain) at Persistence Market Research.
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“Expansion of the automotive industry, increased construction activities around the globe, coupled with the US government acknowledging its long standing issues associated with steel, are foreseen to push for indigenous steel production – which will predominantly drive the sales of lime in the global market. Another key factor shaping the growth of lime market is the production of precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC), using high-calcium quicklime. Widely used in plastic, paper, paint, and rubber industries, PCC is enjoying high consumption by manufacturers of PVC plastisols, polysulfides, urethanes, and silicones,” the PMR analyst further adds.
Lime Manufacturers Investing Efforts in Enhanced Operational Efficiency and Optimal Energy Consumption
By keeping optimum operational efficiency and productivity at the center, key participants in the lime market landscape are prioritizing periodic capacity expansions along with process improvements that are specifically designed to achieve low carbon emissions as well as energy conservation and optimum fuel expenditure. Lime producers based in the developing regional markets will continue to emphasize enhanced key operational efficiencies. Lime and intermediates import by domestic manufacturers will possibly uplift the lime market scenario, coupled with sustained sale of processed lime products. However, storage of lime will continue to pose a long-term challenge to growth of the players across the value chain of the lime market, as lime cannot be stored for longer owing to its physical and functional peculiarities.
To demonstrate an enhanced application portfolio, several manufacturers in the lime market are strategizing the introduction of new grades of lime. They are augmenting investments in air emission control, dust control, and waste disposal to adhere to real-time environmental regulatory standards. Moreover, cost reduction of lime will remain a longstanding concern of market players, according to PMR study. Rapid adoption of M&A strategy has been slated by big-scale lime producers and smaller lime production companies in the next few years, which is likely to support the progress of lime market in the long run.
Long-term Contracts and Vertical Integration to Remain Key Strategic Moves Adopted by Leading Lime Market Players
Lime producers are preferring long-term contracts with end users based in the proximity of their manufacturing plants in order to encounter high potential opportunities and achieve stability in terms of revenue generation. Vertical integration by large-scale lime manufacturers through acquisition of small and mid-scale manufacturing companies will possibly help the former save significantly on the capital expenditure, controlling other input costs as well. PMR concludes that the vertical integration strategy involving strategic operational alliances and joint ventures will result in value accretive assets generating profitability to the acquiring company. Moreover, building standing relationships with trucking and transportation companies will also remain one of the top strategies among key players in the lime market. This will possibly help manufacturers serve their end users better, at lower freight costs, and reduced demurrage in case of delay during product unloading.
Stringent regulatory measures regarding the maintenance of low carbon emission will continue to negatively impact the overall production cost, hampering the performance of manufacturers in the lime market. Such a scenario is most likely to result in declining performance of the lime market over the next few years. Manufacturing companies are focusing on the development of cost effective and energy efficient lime manufacturing processes to cater to the demands of various environmental laws – without altering production budget.
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Increasing Prominence of Affordably Priced Lime Alternatives to Pose a Major Threat to Lime Production Businesses
In various applications including sulfur removal, fluxing, and agriculture, limestone is widely used as an ideal substitute to lime, as it consists of less reactive material, reacts relatively slower compared to lime, and is affordable. Similarly, calcined gypsum has also been a popular alternative to lime in industrial plasters and mortars. Moreover, affordable cost of magnesium hydroxide enables it to be used as a lime substitute in pH control applications. Increasing preference of end use industries to better and low cost lime alternatives is most likely to eventually compel a number of lime producers to close or suspend their production.