The Global Salt Market Starts to Recover as the Chemical Sector Sees Signs of Renewed Growth
http://www.chemnet.com Apr 08,2021 IndexBox AI PlatformIn 2020, the global salt market experienced a decline, following a drop in output in the consumer industries. Despite this, stable growth in the demand for salt is expected in the future from the chemical and food sectors; the increasing use of salt in alternative energy is also a factor.
Key Trends and Insights
In 2020, almost every country experienced a drop in salt production; China was the exception, indicating a 1.7% growth against 2019 figures. In the EU countries, salt extraction decreased by approx. 16%; in the USA, it fell by 7%, in Canada, by 10%, in Russia, by 12% and in India, by 3%. Since salt is widely used for the production of chlorine and sodium chloride, the stagnation seen in the chemical industry in 2020 explains this decline in production.
In 2020, the fall in food production also resulted in reduced salt consumption in the sector. In the medium term, the demand for salt in the catering industry is scheduled to increase, the factors for growth being a rising population and improved living standards, as well as the possible lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in HoReCa and tourism.
‘Gourmet salt’ – unrefined sea salt available with various added flavors – is now increasingly popular. This salt gives food a distinct taste and pleasant aroma; the sodium content is lower, making it healthier than conventional table salt. As the increased focus is being given to items positioned as a ‘healthy product’, this trend is expected to continue as the pandemic wanes.
Alternative energy can also become a promising niche for salt. Sodium chloride-run batteries are now in active development. If successful, this could also become a long-term market driver.
China, the U.S. and India to Remain Key Salt Producers
In 2019, production of salt and pure sodium chloride increased by 1.6% to 298M tonnes, rising for the third year in a row after three years of decline. In value terms, salt production fell modestly to $33.6B in 2019 estimated in export prices. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +1.4% over the period from 2012 to 2019 (IndexBox estimates).
The countries with the highest volumes of salt production in 2019 were China (67M tonnes), the U.S. (42M tonnes) and India (29M tonnes), together comprising 46% of global production. These countries were followed by Germany, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, the Netherlands, France and Turkey, which together accounted for a further 29% (IndexBox estimates).
In 2019, India (13M tonnes), distantly followed by Chile (8.6M tonnes), Canada (5.2M tonnes), Germany (4.4M tonnes), the Netherlands (4.2M tonnes) and Egypt (3.9M tonnes) were the key exporters of salt and pure sodium chloride, together creating 65% of total exports. The following exporters – Mexico (2.4M tonnes), Belarus (2M tonnes), China (1.6M tonnes), Tunisia (1.5M tonnes), Spain (1.4M tonnes), the U.S. (1M tonnes) and Ukraine (1M tonnes) – together made up 18% of total exports.
In value terms, the largest salt supplying countries worldwide were the Netherlands ($287M), Germany ($268M) and India ($237M), with a combined 26% share of global exports. Canada, the U.S., Chile, Egypt, Spain, China, Belarus, Tunisia, Mexico and Ukraine lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 37%.