Intense Competition from Low-Cost Imports, particularly from China, Has Increasingly Constrained the U.S. Glass Product Industry Performance

Glass June 28, 2016
Author: Sergey Avramenko
Head of Global Markets Research Team

Photo: ©  BugTiger / Bigstockphoto

The U.S. glass product market showed mixed dynamics from 2008 to 2015, but the overall trend was positive. The decline in 2009 (-18%) was followed by steady growth in the upcoming years. In 2015, the glass product market reached 12,364 million USD.

U.S. growth in glass product consumption is expected to accelerate to +3.5% (currently +2.6%) in the medium term, amid the current economic recovery and a growing demand for housing starts, household appliances, motor vehicles, electric lightning equipment and the positive outlook for the major industrial sectors.

However, growth in consumption will be restrained by the uncertainty in the global economy triggered by plummeting oil prices, slowing paces of China's economy growth and collapsing stock markets at the beginning of 2016.

U.S. glass product manufacturing illustrated mixed dynamics over the last few years. After a 16% fall in 2009, steady growth of value of shipments was tracked. In 2015, the value of shipments in the industry reached 11,773 million USD, rising with a CAGR of +2.1% from 2008 to 2015.

Intense competition from low-cost imports, particularly from China, has increasingly constrained industry performance during this period, engaging producers to approach overseas markets.

China was the main supplier of glass product into the U.S., with a major 49% share of total U.S. imports in 2015. It was followed by Mexico (13%), Germany (7%) and Japan (5%). The fastest growing suppliers were the Republic of Korea (+22.7% per year) and China (+12.8% per year) from 2007 to 2014. Being the largest supplier, China significantly strengthened its position in the U.S. import structure, from 31% in 2007 to 49% in 2015. By contrast, Mexico and Canada saw their shares reduced.

U.S. exports of glass products have experienced steady growth since 2010. The export growth rates were higher than those of production and consumption. As the U.S. companies have improved their positions in overseas markets, domestic manufacturers enjoyed a new growth driver, especially considering fierce competition from imports.

The continuing appreciation of the dollar makes imports cheaper and exports more expensive to foreign buyers, which could potentially restrain manufacturing growth in the medium term.

In 2014, the main destinations of U.S. glass product exports were Canada (31%), Germany (20%) and Mexico (11%). The share exported to Mexico increased (+2 percentage points), while the share sent to Canada illustrated negative dynamics (-5 percentage points). The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

Net U.S. imports of glass products have shown a negative trend since 2008. In 2015, this industry ran a significant trade deficit of 149 thousand tonnes, approximately 31% of gross imports.

However, in value terms, the U.S. was a net exporter of glass products in the period from 2009 to 2014, which was attributed to high export prices. From 2008 to 2014, the trade proficit in value terms was insignificant, as export values were close to imports. In 2015, the hike of imports was tracked, driven by rising imports of laminated safety glass both for vehicle and non-vehicle use, as well as laboratory, hygienic or pharmaceutical glassware. Therefore, the trade surplus in value terms turned into a 592 million USD trade deficit in 2015.

Source: U.S. Glass Products Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2020