Bismuth is considered to be a heavy metal with the least toxicity and is found double in abundance as compared to gold in the Earth’s crust. Although the use of bismuth can be traced back to ancient times, it was frequently confused with lead and tin which have similar physical properties. Bismuth is used in a variety of applications including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, casting print types, construction, metallurgy and automotive. Most famously, bismuth can be found in the antacid medication Pepto-Bismol.
Growth In Bismuth Market In Recent Years
The bismuth market price is expected to remain steady in the coming years. China accounts for approximately 65 percent of the bismuth reserves, dominating the global bismuth market with a 75 percent share of the total bismuth consumption. The bismuth market is expected to have higher growth rates in the APAC region, led by an increase in investments in China and India for the manufacturing of bismuth.
- The bismuth market has noted steady growth in the past few years, driven by increasing applications of bismuth across industries. Nearly half of the production of bismuth is accounted for by bismuth compounds. Bismuth and its various compounds are used extensively in pharmaceuticals, aiding in indigestion (Pepto-Bismol), digestive disorders, diarrhea, burns, and sexually transmitted diseases.
The automotive industry, which is witnessing significant growth at a global level, uses bismuth in brake linings, clutch pads, pearlescent coatings, and rust-free coatings, and is accordingly expected to drive the market for bismuth. The unusual property of bismuth of expanding during solidification makes it an ideal material for casting of printing type, however, with the increase in laser printers and digital methods of printing, the demand for printing type is reducing.
- The demand for bismuth as a replacement for lead is one of the major factors driving the growth of the bismuth market. Since lead has significant toxicity as compared to bismuth and can be harmful to both humans and the environment, bismuth is emerging as a popular alternative that is also environmentally friendly but has similar characteristics to lead. Bismuth is used as a metallurgical additive in the production of aluminum, steel, and iron. Other industries where bismuth is replacing lead are paints, coatings, and electronics.
Governments are also putting regulations in place to check the use of lead, and encourage the use of bismuth to reduce the risk of toxicity. Manufacturers are also adopting regulations and initiatives to phase out the use of lead and replace it with bismuth.
- The properties of bismuth and its suitable lack of toxicity has made the metal a popular option across the world, in developed and developing countries, with North America and Europe considered to be mature markets. However, while there is plenty of demand, the supply of bismuth is restricted to regions having a natural supply of bismuth. Typically, bismuth and its compounds have been manufactured as a by-product of the lead refining process. As the demand for bismuth increases and the demand for lead reduces, manufacturing of bismuth independently is expected to increase.
The growth in the bismuth market at a global level has been increasing at a steady pace over the past years, as bismuth becomes a popular alternative to lead. Phasing out the usage of lead and replacing it with bismuth is expected to drive the market further in coming years. The abundant natural reserves of bismuth are further supplementing the growth of the market.