World industrial valve demand will increase 5.5% per year through 2007 (including price increases) to more than $60 billion, according to the study “World Valves” by The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based market research firm.

This represents an improvement over the previous five-year period 1997-2002, when worldwide valve growth was 4.4%, according to the firm. The increase reflects accelerating macroeconomic growth in the developing regions of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Freedonia sees improving economic fundamentals - especially fixed investment levels - as bolstering most valve consuming sectors and strengthening underdeveloped infrastructures in these regions. As a result, primary energy consumption will increase, creating opportunities for valve suppliers in the key energy production sector in the developing world.

The advanced nations of North America, Western Europe and the Pacific Rim comprise mature valve markets. Although valve markets in the U.S., Japan and Western Europe will register gains that lag the global average through 2007, all three will see an improvement in their respective markets compared with the 1997-2002 period. Global demand for automatic valves will outpace that for conventional valves due to the desire to improve efficiency, says Freedonia.

The United States, Germany, Japan and Italy account for more than half of global valve production, according to the research firm. However, China is rapidly becoming a major player and net exporter. Italy, Germany and Japan are the world's largest net exporters of valves. Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Taiwan are also notable valve producers.

“World Valves” has a publication date of November 2003 and is available for $4,900 from The Freedonia Group, 440-684-9600,