Demand for gypsum products in North America is projected to increase 2.7 percent annually through 2013 to 47.7 million metric tons, valued at $5.3 billion. Gypsum board is the largest gypsum product segment by a wide margin, accounting for about 70 percent of demand. Demand for gypsum board is projected to rise 3.2 percent annually through 2013. Gains in demand for gypsum products will derive primarily from the recovery of the US new housing sector, the leading consumer of gypsum. These and other trends are presented in Gypsum in North America, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
In the US, demand for gypsum and gypsum products declined sharply in 2007 and 2008, as new housing construction collapsed in the wake of upheaval in the banking and credit industries and with the onset of a general economic recession. Going forward, the recovery of the US new housing sector from its depressed 2008 levels will lead the industry back to positive growth.
Demand for gypsum and gypsum products in Canada and Mexico will also show growth through 2013. In Mexico, demand will increase 2.1 percent annually through 2013, representing a deceleration from the gains posted in the 1998-2008 time frame, reflecting slowing growth in both residential and nonresidential construction activity. Better prospects will emerge in nonbuilding markets in Mexico, due to expanded infrastructure construction. In Canada, demand for gypsum products will increase only marginally, reflecting a contraction in new housing construction and decelerating growth in residential improvement and repair spending, nonresidential construction and nonbuilding construction.
Synthetic gypsum, which accounted for 24 percent of crude gypsum supply in 2008, will continue to gradually increase its share of crude gypsum production. Synthetic gypsum, which is widely available in the United States and Canada, is produced primarily as a byproduct of the flue gas desulfurization process for reducing emissions at coal-fired power plants.