Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the core industries such as agriculture, industrial, and food & beverage industry are highly impacted. Due to social distancing policy, most of the production plants of major chemical processing and food processing facilities are put on hold or are shut down, which has impacted the global market of potassium sulphate. For instance, according to National Bureau of Statistics of China, the chemical manufacturing in China slumped by around 20% compared to the last year, while profits declined by 66%. According to OCED, the food supply chains were highly affected which simultaneously affected the agricultural/farm production, food processing, transport and logistics, and the final demand. The food processing industries were disrupted due to the rules of social distancing, lockdown measures, and labor shortages. Additionally, due to supply chain disruptions such as raw material (agricultural produce, food ingredients, intermediate food products) delays or non-arrival, disrupted financial flows, uncertain consumer demand, and demand-supply volatility have been forced to function at zero or partial capacity, resulting in lower demand and consumption for potassium sulphates in 2020.
Potassium Sulphate Market Segment Analysis By Grade
The agricultural grade segment held the largest share in the potassium sulphate market in 2020. Potassium sulphate is extensively used in various crop fields such as vegetable crops, herbs & spices, fruit crops, flowering crops, cereal crops, pulse crops, sugar crops, fiber crops, oilseed crops & lawn grasses. According to Fertilizer Control Order (FCO), potassium sulphate which contains acid salt and sulfuric acid is used as fertilizer for improving crop quality and can be applied to crops in open field as well as under protected cultivation. The potassium sulphate act as one of the major sources for the crops as they contribute in building proteins, activates enzymes, starch and sugars, controls the flow of water through the plant, and stimulates photosynthesis. Thus, the agricultural grade holds a extensive use as a fertilizer in the agricultural industry. Additionally, this agricultural grade is also used in animal feed which helps to build nutrition in the feed. The agricultural grade segment is expected to grow at CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period.
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Potassium Sulphate Market Segment Analysis By Form
The solid segment held the largest share in the potassium sulphate market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.4% during 2021-2026. Currently, solid form accounts for more than three-fourths of the overall market and is predicted to retain its dominance in the coming years, owing to its growing application in plant aids and increasing yield in the agricultural sector. According to the International Journal of Agronomy and Agricultural Research (IJAAR), the solid SOP has increased the yield of crops such as wheat, sugarcane, rice, and cotton respectively by 4.8%, 13.55%, 2.9%, and 27.5%. As the agriculture industry reported a good yield with SOPs over the past few years, the potassium sulphate market is steadily moving towards greater market consolidation. As a result, the demand for potassium sulphate can be seen in almost every application industry, which contributes to the business growth.
Potassium Sulphate Market Segment Analysis By End-Use Industry
The agriculture segment held the largest share in the potassium sulphate market in 2020 with a share of over 40%. Potassium sulphate, an inorganic compound is an excellent source of potassium (K) nutrition for plants and crops. The K portion of the K?SO? is similar to other commonly known potash fertilizers. In addition, they also supply a valuable source of sulphate (S), which helps in protein synthesis and enzyme functions required by the plants. The increasing demand for high-quality crops is a major factor driving the market. For instance, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global cereal production in 2021, has increased by 1.7% compared to 2020. This growing demand of cereals and other crops is expected to create major traction for the growth of the market in the coming years. In many countries of the Asia-Pacific region the GDP growth depends on the agricultural output, thus, creating a strong demand for the market and is expected to drive the growth of the agricultural industry. As a result, the growing focus across these countries (China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia) on the agriculture industry is projected to fuel the growth of the global potassium sulphate market over the forecast market.
Potassium Sulphate Market Segment Analysis By Geography
Asia-Pacific region held the largest share in the potassium sulphate market in 2020 up to 45%, owing to the accelerating agricultural industries in the region. Another factor contributing to the growth of the skin care market in this area is the growth in the cosmetics sector. The increasing population and per capita income are boosting the agricultural industry in the region. According to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, the total grain output shall remain above 650 billion kg in 2021, with a rise of 0.9% from 2020. Additionally, China’s agriculture fiscal spending was US$928 billion during the 2016-2019 period. Thus, with the flourishing agricultural industry, there will be an upsurge in the demand for agricultural crops and feed, which is anticipated to drive the potassium sulphate market in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Potassium Sulphate Market Drivers
Increasing Agricultural Production
The specific properties of potassium sulphate an inorganic compound which contains sulfuric acid are increasingly being employed to yield high quality crops and nutritional feed. Potassium sulphate is becoming more popular in the agricultural sector due to the low presence of chloride which can be harmful to the crops. Potassium Sulphates are utilized in a variety of applications in the agricultural industry, including the application of potassium sulfate for optimal growth as the soil accumulates chloride from the irrigation water. Potassium stimulates the growth of strong stems and gives the plant some disease resistance by promoting thickness of the outer cell walls. Adequate potassium can reduce moisture loss from growing plants, thereby giving some drought resistance. They improve flavor, storing quality, and color of the fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the growing demand for arable land and high yield crops in the Asian and Latin American countries is expected to drive the market strongly. According to The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Presently, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than half of the global agricultural production output. Europe, Central Asia and North America are responsible for around 45% of the production. In the coming years, crop and livestock production are expected to grow rapidly in Asia Pacific region which is mainly driven by strong output growth of India by 25% along with Latin America 15%. Production growth will be low in Europe, Central Asia, and North America as agricultural productivity is already at high levels, and policies constraints such as environmental and animal welfare policies will limit further output growth. According to FAO, the global crop production to increase by almost 15% by 2029. Thus, increasing agricultural production will require more potassium sulphates, which will act as a driver for the potassium sulphate industry during the review period.
Growing Demand from Medical and Industrial Applications
Potassium sulphate which is an inorganic compound has been used as a medical treatment ingredient since the 17th century. It is used for urinary problems and to engage perspiration. They are also used across the various industrial processes from the production of various chemicals and in the dying industry. Potassium sulfate is used in the production of high-quality inorganic compounds such as potassium alum, potassium persulfate, extremely pure potassium sulfate, and potassium waterglass; and as a catalyst for special plasters, gypsum board, and anhydrite screed. They are also used as an additive to water-based, chloride-free drilling fluids, in the production of fire extinguishing powder for class B/C fires, and in the fabrication of drawing lubricants. Thus, it is anticipated that with the flourishing medical and chemical industry, there will be an upsurge in the demand, which will subsequently drive the potassium sulphate market share during the forecast period.
Potassium Sulphate Market Challenges
Volatility in Price and Natural Fertilizers
The price of potassium sulphate fluctuates at a rapid pace as the prices of potassium are very volatile. For instance, the potassium sulphate prices were down by 0.33% from start of August 2021 to mid of August 2021. Additionally, the introduction of neem fertilizers in organic farming highly increases the yield of the crops as per the research article published by University of Calabar. Thus, these factors have become the major challenges of potassium sulphate in terms of consumption, which hampers the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Potassium Sulphate Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the potassium sulphate market. Potassium sulphate top 10 companies are:
K+S KALI GmbH
Compass Minerals International Inc.
Yara International ASA
The Mosaic Company
Interpid Potash, Inc.
SOPerior Fertilizer Corp and others
In May 2020, Uralkali which is one of the largest potash producers, proclaims that Uralkali Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uralkali, has concluded a contract with Indian Potash Limited (IPL), the major Indian importer of fertilizers, for potash deliveries.
In January 2019, Sesoda Corporation reopened its 130,000 tons/year capacity facility in Su’ao, which produces a wide range of SOP products including standard and granular grades.
Asia-Pacific dominates the potassium sulphate market, owing to the increasing agricultural industry in the region. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the domestic export in FY20 were US$35.09 billion and is expected to over US$ 41.25 billion by FY21. Meanwhile, 20% of the countrys GDP were acquired though agricultural sector.
Potassium sulphate, an inorganic compound had a positive impact from the cosmetics sector during the pandemic period. Companies such as Colgate-Palmolive saw a rise in sales by 28% in personal care sector. Similarly, the sales of Johnson & Johnson had increased by 54% in 2020, compared to 2019 in the personal care sector.
There has been an increase in agricultural schemes by government bodies to initiate the development of modern technology and high yield crops, which is increasing the demand for potassium sulphate and its application as a fertilizer and consecutively driving the market growth.
The major opportunity for this market is the application of potassium sulphate in the production of pharmaceutical drugs. In recent times, they are majorly used in osmotic laxatives that are used to cleanse the colon. Moreover, further research and development is expected to increase the demand for potassium sulphate in the pharmaceutical sector in the coming years.
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