Market Overview The market for niobium is expected to witness a CAGR of 5.90 % during the forecast period of 2019-2024. Major factors driving the market are the increased consumption of niobium in structural steel and extensive utilization of niobium-based alloys in manufacturing aircraft engines. Niobium, being an abundant element with a small number of producers around the world, can hinder the growth of the market studied.
The construction industry dominated the market in 2017 and is expected to grow during the forecast period as niobium-based alloys are exceptionally meeting the challenges regarding fire resistance and seismic requirement of modern artistic construction. Increasing demand for high strength and lightweight steel in oil & gas pipelines is likely to act as an opportunity in the future. Asia-Pacific dominated the market with the largest consumption from countries, such as China and Japan.
Key Market Trends Growing usage in the Automotive Industry
Lightweight materials and designs have been important concerns in the manufacturing of automobiles, where driving dynamics is a major factor. Additionally, the emerging focus of governments across the world on minimizing carbon emissions and enhancing fuel economy (as per the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards) of the vehicle has increased the importance of lightweight materials in the production of automobiles. In the past couple of years, the automotive industry has been consistently focusing on vehicle weight, as it has a direct impact on driving dynamics, fuel consumption, and agility. The shifting focus of automobile manufacturers toward the development of light-weight vehicles is becoming the biggest opportunity for growth in the niobium market. The usage of niobium as a micro-alloy enhances the toughness and strength of steel, while also ensuring that the automobile body structure is light. At the same time, it also makes vehicles safe in the event of a collision. For instance, usage of about 300 gram of niobium in steel for a mid-size passenger car reduces the weight of the vehicle by approximately 200 kg, in turn, improving the fuel economy of the vehicle (1 liter per 200 km) and reducing exhaust emissions. With the growing automotive industry, the consumption of niobium is projected to increase through the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
Asia-Pacific dominated the global market in 2017. With accelerating usage in structural steels and growing usage in the automobile and aerospace industry in countries, such as China, India, and Japan, the consumption of niobium is increasing in the region. The consumption of niobium is very high in steel manufacturing in the form of ferroniobium, and the construction industry is thriving in several emerging economies, such as China and India, among others. The Chinese automotive manufacturing industry is the largest in the world. The automotive industry is growing steadily, with high production and demand for passenger cars. Further, the aviation industry is currently running 2,185 general aviation aircraft. Moreover, it is planning to have more than 5,000 aircraft and 500 airports by 2020. With the growing demand from various end-user industries in different countries, the demand for niobium is projecetd to increase at a high rate during the forecast period.
Competitive Landscape The global niobium market is dominated by CBMM accounting for 84% of the market, which holds a monopoly over niobium supply. The other prominent companies include China Molybdenum Co. Ltd (CMOC International), NIOBEC (Magris Resources Company), Alkane Resources Ltd, and Grandview Materials, among others.
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