Sodium borate also known as borax is a mineral, a boron compound and a salt of boric acid. Sodium borate is available in crystalline form and is water soluble. Sodium borate can also be easily converted to borates and boric acid. Borax decahydrate is the commonly used grade in the market. Some of the countries such as Turkey, the U.S., Chile and Romania have commercially important deposits of borax. Sodom borate is used in variety of end-user industries such as personal care, biochemistry, paints & coatings, metal processing, food processing, mining, paper processing, water treatment and ceramics among others. Sodium borate is also used as buffer solutions in biochemical processes and laboratories. Fire retardant is another major outlet for sodium borate and is likely to grow in years to come.
The market for sodium borate was mainly driven by end-user industries such as increasing demand from personal care, water treatment and disinfectant market. Huge demand for sodium borate as antiseptic solution from detergent, disinfectant and water treatment has been the major factor for the growth of sodium borate in past few years. Sodium borate is used in manufacturing of glass, ceramics, paints & coatings and coated paper among others. Sodium borate is also preferred as a flux in metal processing industry as well as in metal welding. In ceramics, sodium borate is used as ingredient in enamel glazes and as ingredient in ceramic slips. In agricultural chemicals, sodium borate is used in micronutrients to correct the boron deficiencies in the soil. In food processing, sodium borate is used as food additive, food preservative or to improve the rubbery texture of the food. Increasing demand for treated water thus driving the water treatment industry is likely to be major opportunity for the sodium borate market in upcoming years. In spite of so many applications, environmental and health regulations associated with sodium borate are anticipated to hider the growth of the market in next few years.
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In terms of demand, Asia Pacific was the leading region in sodium borate market in 2013. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing markets for sodium borate due to increasing demand from agricultural chemicals, detergents, ceramics and water treatment in this region. The market for sodium borate in Asia Pacific was led by China. Other Asian countries such as India and Japan are likely to provide better opportunity for sodium borate market owing to increasing consumption from water treatment and agricultural chemicals end-user industries. Asia Pacific was followed by North America. Increasing demand from detergents, agricultural chemicals and water treatment industry is driving the demand for sodium borate in this region. U.S. had the largest demand for sodium borate owing to huge demand from end-user industries such as personal care, water treatment and ceramics among others. Europe had the third-largest demand for sodium borate market in 2013. Increasing demand for sodium borate from personal care industry coupled with chemical industry has been driving the market for sodium borate in Europe. Germany is one of the largest consumers of sodium borate in this region owing to the huge demand from ceramics and paper processing industry. Rest of the World market is anticipated to show positive outlook for the sodium borate market in near future.
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The market for sodium borate is highly oligopolistic in nature. Some of the key manufacturers in the sodium borate market are Etimine S.A., Larderello S.p.A., Quiborax S.A. and Rio Tinto Group among others.