Polyurethane occurs in several forms ranging from flexible or rigid foams to strong and stiff elastomers. Flexible and rigid foams accounted for 60% of the total polyurethane market in 2013. Rigid polyurethane foams applications are prominently contributed to refrigeration and construction insulations. Increasing electronic and construction industries across the globe are projected to bolster the rigid polyurethane foams market growth over the forecast period. Industrialization in India and China is expected to drive the global market in near future.
Brazil hosted FIFA world cup in 2014 which led to increased rigid polyurethane consumption in construction activities. Brazil is going to organize Olympics in 2016 which is also anticipated to generate immense opportunities for the market in this region. Recent economic crisis in the U.S. and Europe led to declination in rigid polyurethane foam market growth and is projected to experience stagnant growth in the future. Government support regarding industrial refrigeration applications in the region is anticipated to drive the market growth over the next five years.
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The product fulfilled the ASHRAE norms applied in the U.S. regarding industrial refrigeration usage is projected to foster the market growth over the forecast period. Sensitive crude oil and benzene prices have impacted MDI/TDI prices which are primary raw materials for rigid polyurethane foams. This is expected to hinder the market growth over the foreseeable future. Excessive capacity expansion of the product manufacturing facilities in China has implied pressure on other regional market players regarding prices.
Rigid polyurethane foam market is segmented on the basis of product into three categories as molded foam parts, slabstock polyester and slabstock polyether. Slabstock polyether was the largest product segment market followed by slabstock polyester accounted for over 35% in 2013 owing to increasing applications in construction industry. This is majorly used in exterior wall coatings and roofing as insulation layer due to high thermal efficiency and easy installation. Slabstock polyester accounted for over 23% in 2013 and is gaining high acceptance than slabstock polyether owing to higher loading capacity and tear resistance. These factors are anticipated to support slabstock polyester to be the fastest growing product segment market over the forecast period. Molded foam was the third major market accounting for over 20% in 2013.
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Asia Pacific was the largest consumer accounting for over 40% of overall consumption worldwide in 2013. Growing construction activities in emerging countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China coupled with rising disposable income are expected to drive the rigid polyurethane market in Asia Pacific. The region is also anticipated to be the fastest growing regional market owing regional government support to enhance construction and infrastructure activities. Europe attributed to the second major market accounting for over 32% of overall consumption.
This regional market faced dip in the recent past due to economic crisis but is anticipated to witness positive growth in the near future. North America covered over 18% of the total market in 2013. North America and Europe are mature markets and expected to witness slow growth over the forecast period.
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BASF, Dow Chemicals, Huntsman Corporation and Bayer Material Science are the major participants leading the global rigid polyurethane foam market. They are concentrating towards emerging markets such as China and India on account of low overall cost.
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