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The global salt market has been forecast to hit 338.5 million metric tons by 2016, driven by the increase in demand from the chemical processing industry, and the increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions.
Salt, also known as rock salt, is a crystalline mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride, a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is absolutely essential for animal life, but can be harmful to animals and plants in excess.
Salt is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous food seasonings and salting is an important method of food preservation. The taste of salt (saltiness) is one of the basic human tastes.
Salt for human consumption is produced in different forms: unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt. It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light gray in colour, normally obtained from sea water or rock deposits. Edible rock salts may be slightly grayish in colour because of mineral content.
Global demand for salt is projected to climb 2.9% annually through 2015 to reach a market value of $13.6 billion. Increased salt consumption in most parts of the world will more than offset expected contractions of demand in Western Europe and Japan.
In 2010, China was the largest consumer of salt, primarily because of the huge size of its chemical industry, although food processing and livestock salt use is also substantial due to the nation's 1.3 billion residents. China accounted for one-fourth of salt demand worldwide in 2010 and is projected to be the fastest growing national market through 2015.
Chemical manufacturing is by far the largest market for salt, accounting for 55% of all demand. The vast majority of demand in this market is generated by chloralkali and synthetic soda ash producers, which use salt as their primary feedstock.
Key players currently dominating the global salt market include K+S AG, China National Salt Industry Corp., and Compass Minerals International Inc.
For more information on the global salt market, see the latest research: Global Salt Market
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