Increasing sulphur deficiency in developing regions such as Latin America and Asia Pacific is expected to drive the demand for sulphur bentonite. Over the recent past, key sulphur consuming countries such as China have observed relatively slow economic growth. This coupled with regulations pertaining to permissible quantity of sulphur, especially in marine fuel (IMO) among other products, is expected to further widen the gap between elemental sulphur production and consumption at a global level. The Latin America sulphur bentonite market can be stated as a low volume high growth market. The region was responsible for only a minute share in the overall market. However, the high agricultural growth rate and anticipated steady growth in Latin America are some of the factors making this region an attractive market for sulphur bentonite.
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Asia Pacific regional market to stay at the vanguard of growth owing to a growing deficiency of sulphur
In the recent past, sulphur has surfaced as an essential nutrient in agricultural harvest and has been considered as the fourth most important plant nutrient succeeding NPK. According to the sulphur institute, the global sulphur deficiency in the agricultural sector is estimated to be around 11 Mn tonnes. India and China collectively represent approximately 70% share. In China, about 30% of the cropped soils are sulphur deficient. The region is anticipated to witness significant demand for sulphur containing fertilizers. The governments of various countries in the region are channelizing efforts for balanced plant nutrition and are also providing subsidies to increase the demand for sulphur-based fertilizers, including sulphur bentonite in the region. Traditionally, the region is dependent on imports from the Middle East and North America. The easy availability of raw materials like sulphur is also a major concern for various manufacturers. The quality of sulphur has to meet certain standard specifications and therefore is likely to act as a core roadblock in the global market.
However, over the past few years, manufacturers have recognised the growth potential in the Asia Pacific region owing to the growing sulphur deficiency in the soil. A number of new production plants are being established and expansion of production capacities of existing plants is also being done to cater to the domestic needs.
North America to catch up with APAC on the production and consumption front
North America has been a major producer as well as consumer of sulphur bentonite. Sulphur bentonite has performed exceptionally well on North American soil. There has been significant improvement in the oil content and yield of major oil seeds including rape seed and soybean among others. The increased yield of canola than that of other cereals is primarily owing to the use of sulphur bentonite. Canada is amongst the leading producers of canola; hence, a significant demand is projected to evolve from the country. On the other hand, the U.S. is projected to generate significant demand owing to the growing production of soybean and corn. However, regulations being imposed by governments like the U.S. Clean Air Act are likely to act as a prominent roadblock in the growth of the sulphur bentonite market in the coming years. Furthermore, the burgeoning development of shale gas in the petrochemicals industry of the region has further affected sulphur production to a significant extent.
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