Global Potassium Sulphate Market – Insights
Potassium sulphate, also known as Sulphate of Potash (SOP) or Potash of Sulfur (POS) is an inorganic compound with formula K2SO4. Potassium sulphate is commonly used in agriculture industry as fertilizers for improving crop yield and as setting agent in glass production. Apart from these, potassium sulphate also finds its applications in cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and industrial sector. On account of advantages offered by SOP such as soil fertilizer in agriculture industry and viscosity increasing agent or thickener in cosmetics industry, demand for potassium sulphate is projected to increase over the forecast period.
In the pharmaceutical industry, potassium sulphate is used as a raw material for drug production. For instance, potassium sulphate is used for the production of antibiotics. In February 2017, Lupin received the final approval from the U.S. FDA to market potassium sulphate, sodium sulphate, and magnesium sulphate oral solutions that are used to treat prostate and cervix cancer. Moreover, potassium sulphate has industrial use as a flash reducer in artillery propellant charges. It reduces flareback, blast overpressure, and muzzle flash.
Feeding the growing population globally is one of the major challenge faced by the world coupled with declining agricultural land owing to soil erosion, higher salinity levels and increasing urbanization. According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to increase from 7.6 billion in 2017 to 9.8 billion in 2050. Food security is a major concern for numerous countries around the world. Increased utilization of fertilizer has been associated with increased yield. This scenario is predicted to boost the demand for potassium sulphate from agriculture sector in the near future.
The market is projected to reach US$ 6,598.7 million by the end of 2027, owing to rising use of potassium sulphate in end-use industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and industrial applications. Other uses of POS in agriculture sector include improvement in the quality of fruit, aids in strengthening roots, activates enzyme reaction, synthesizes proteins, promotes thickness of outer cell wall, improves color and flavor, forms sugar and starch, and regulates water flow in leaves and cells. It is also an essential cofactor in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
The global potassium sulphate market accounted for US$ 4,000.2 million in 2018 and is expected to register a subsequent CAGR of 5.8% in terms of revenue, over the forecast period (2019 – 2027).
Figure 1. Global Potassium Sulphate Market Share (%), By Region, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2017-18
Asia Pacific is anticipated to account for the largest revenue share in the global potassium sulphate market over the forecast period. This is owing to rising in adoption of fertilizers in countries such as China and India coupled with the growing production of tobacco in India. According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India is the third-largest producer of tobacco in the world, with 0.8 Mn tons of annual production in 2016.
Furthermore, Europe is expected to account for second largest share in the global potassium sulphate market followed by Asia Pacific, owing to increasing demand for potassium sulphate from agriculture and feedstock industry. Europe is host to major producers of potassium sulphate. Germany, Belgium and Netherlands are among the major exporters of the chemical. The production is carried out by secondary process i.e. Mannheim process and sulphate salt reaction process of ore obtained from underground mines in Germany. Germany, Italy and Eastern European countries led the region in consumption of potassium sulphate, which in turn is fueling growth of the potassium sulphate market in Europe.
Rising production of crop yields in European countries is further expected to upsurge demand for potassium sulphate in the near future. According to the U.K Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, in 2016, the fruit production was pegged at 777,000 tons. Moreover, vegetable exports were 13% higher in 2016 as compared to 2015. These factors have contributed to the growth of U.K. potassium sulphate market.
Figure 2. Global Potassium Sulphate Market Share (%), By Process, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2017-18
Mannheim process segment was dominant in global potassium sulphate market and accounted for around 50.0% of the revenue share in 2018. Furthermore, brine process segment is expected to grow at fastest pace over the forecast period.
Brine processing is also a primary production method of potassium sulphate. Major brine deposits of potassium sulphate in the world are present in China, India, the U.S., and Chile. Despite low cost and eco-friendly nature of production by this method, the rarity of brine deposits containing potassium sulphate has hindered growth of this process segment. Western Australia is expected to emerge as a major producer through this process segment. However, development is at a nascent stage. The aforementioned countries are expected to drive growth of the brine processing process segment.
Major players operating in the global potassium sulphate market include Tessenderlo Group, K+S KALI GmbH, Compass Minerals International Inc., SDIC Xinjiang Luobupo Hoevellite LLC., SQM, Yara International ASA, Sesoda Corporation, United Company Rusal Plc., and Migao Corporation Chemicals.