World demand for asphalt to reach 108 million tonnes in 2013

By Richard High30 April 2010

World demand for asphalt is forecast to expand by +2.1% annually from a weak 2008 base to 108 million tonnes in 2013, equivalent to 655 million barrels of primary asphalt, according to a new study by market research company The Freedonia Group.

In the world's most developed asphalt markets (North America, Western Europe and Japan), demand suffered in 2008, said the report, reflecting economic recession, declining construction activity and high asphalt prices.

In general, it added, these regions will now post "moderate gains in demand through 2013".

In China and India, growth in demand will remain "well above the world average", although these "gains will decelerate".

The report also said paving products accounted for more than 80% of total asphalt demand in 2008.

With demand totalling nearly 30 million tonnes in 2008, North America is the largest regional market for asphalt. This reflects the size of the US and Canadian road networks and the dominant position of asphalt materials in the North American roofing market, said the report.

Going forward, it added, demand will rebound from a weak 2008 base in both paving and roofing markets, with overall asphalt demand reaching nearly 33 million tonnes in 2013.

The Asia/Pacific region is the fastest growing geographic market for asphalt, said the report, largely because of huge road and highway construction and modernization programs underway in China and India.

In both countries, "gains will decelerate" from 2003-2008 levels, but will still be "well above the global average".

China will be especially important, accounting for 28% of all new global asphalt demand through 2013. Demand in the region will increase +3.3% annually to 32 million tonnes in 2013.

Demand for asphalt in Western Europe is projected to increase less than 1% annually to 22 million tonnes in 2013.

Gains will derive from continued demand in road repair and maintenance applications, and from increasing market share for asphalt roofing, particularly for modified bitumen membranes used in low-slope roofing.

Advances will be "moderated by minimal growth in new road construction, among the slowest growth rates in the world", said the report.

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