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Titanium Producers Positioned For Growing Demand

LONDON, August 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The global titanium market recovered rapidly from the sharp downturn in demand in 2009 and by 2011 demand for mill products had reached 165kt, the highest level experienced by the industry.  While growth stuttered in 2012, Roskill is predicting growth of 4-5%py through to 2018.  

An increasingly differentiated industry

In Europe and North America, aerospace applications regularly account for more than 60% of demand.  Production of titanium sponge and mill products in these regions is also largely orientated towards the aerospace market.  The rapid growth in production of sponge and mill products in China serves the growing domestic demand in industrial applications, which accounted for more than 80% of consumption in 2012.

Despite the volatility of the market and the development of other applications, aerospace remains the principle distinct market for titanium, accounting for a buy-in weight of around 60kt of mill products in 2012.  The new generation of large passenger aircraft, the A380 and A350 from Airbus and the B787 from Boeing use greater volumes of carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) in the airframe.   CFRPs are compatible with titanium, but not with aluminium, which ensures that titanium's position as a key material in the manufacture of aircraft is assured and growing.  The Russian company, VSMPO, has emerged as the leading supplier of mill products to the aerospace industry, supplying in excess of 20kt in 2012.

The use of titanium in industrial applications is more price sensitive, as specifications are not as rigorous as they are in aerospace and there is competition from other high performance alloys.  This price sensitivity is more apparent in Europe and North America than in China, which now accounts for half of all demand in industrial applications. It appears that titanium is selected in preference to (less costly) materials for use in Chinese industrial plants.

Growing output of titanium sponge

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