Automotive lightweighting and China growth driving demand for magnesium
Roskill estimates that consumption of magnesium reached a new peak in 2012, 1.1Mt, with demand having grown by 5.5%py over the last decade. The largest end-uses for magnesium are die-cast magnesium and aluminium alloys, each accounting for a third of total consumption. The transportation industry is the largest consumer of die-cast magnesium and the second largest consumer of aluminium-magnesium alloys behind packaging.The magnesium industry has benefited from a rise in automotive output, led by China, as well as increases in specific consumption of magnesium per vehicle as manufacturers seek to comply with government-imposed emission reduction targets and the rising cost of fuel impacting consumer buying trends. Continued lightweighting efforts mean growth in magnesium consumption is set to continue, at 5.0%py through to 2017. Die-cast magnesium use is likely to rise faster, at 6.5%py, but the market will be tempered by lower rates of growth in steel desulphurisation and iron nodularisation.Growth in Chinese consumption has more than offset a slight fall in the rest-of-world (ROW) since 2007, and Asia now accounts for 43% of the global total, up from 35%. North America represents a further 20% of consumption, and Europe 15%. India and South Korea have shown strong growth over the last five years, but from a low base in volume terms, meanwhile Russian consumption has almost doubled owing to increased titanium production. Asia, more specifically China, will continue to exhibit the highest growth in demand for magnesium on a regional basis through to 2017.