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US refractory demand to reach $2.3 billion in 2009.

Over the past several decades, there has been a massive rationalization and consolidation in the US refractories industry. In addition to the forces typically associated with industry consolidation, the refractories industry has also been buffeted by declining consumption per unit of output in most markets--but especially in the steel industry. However, this process has largely exhausted itself and consumers are unlikely to become significantly more efficient users of refractories for the foreseeable future. Despite what many industries would view as modest prospects, the outlook for the surviving refractory producers is much brighter than the industry has experienced in recent memory. These and other trends are presented in Refractories, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Refractory demand is projected to increase 1.0 percent annually to $2.3 billion in 2009, continuing a strong turnaround which began in late 2003. Gains will be supported by both the improved economic fundamentals going forward and, particularly, the newfound stability in iron and steel following that industry's collapse starting in late 1997.

Among refractory forms, demand for preformed shapes and certain monolithics will see the strongest gains going forward while from a materials perspective, both clay and nonclay materials will perform near the industry average. However, among both clay and nonclay refractories, the switch to better performing products will continue, with the best opportunities expected for zircon and zirconia and silicon carbide refractories among nonclay refractories and high alumina clays in that segment. Despite the positive outlook, most refractory materials will not recover to 1999 levels until well after 2009.

Among the various refractories markets, the best growth opportunities in percentage terms will continue to be found in less traditional end uses such as waste-to-energy generation and restaurants with in-house bakeries and stone ovens. However, while providing new opportunities, the small size of these markets means that their impact on aggregate refractory demand will be minimal. Much more critical to the overall health of the refractories industry will be the turnaround in US steel production, because the iron and steel market represents nearly half of refractory demand and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Refractories (published 08/2005, 281 pages) is available for $4,200 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

For Immediate Release


Corinne Gangloff

Media Relations

phone: 440.684.9600

fax: 440.646.0484

(million dollars)

 % Annual

Item 1999 2004 2009 04/99 09/04

Refractory Demand 2470 2155 2260 -2.7 1.0
 Bricks & Shapes 1394 1209 1260 -2.8 0.8
 Monolithics 676 598 633 -2.4 1.1
 Other Forms 400 348 367 -2.7 1.1

[c] 2005 by The Freedonia Group, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Subscription: $00.00 per year as of 1/94. Published irregularly. Contact Freedonia Group, 3570 Warrensville Cente
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Research Studies - Freedonia Group
Date:Sep 23, 2004
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