CLEVELAND—Worldwide demand for fasteners is projected to rise 5 percent annually through 2006 to $46.4 billion. The major factor fueling this increase will be ongoing economic expansion within the developing nations of Asia and Latin America. As industrialization efforts continue in these countries, fastener demand will rise, along with increasing construction activity and manufacturing output. Electrical and electronic equipment will also help demand. This area is expected to be the fastest growing fastener market through 2006. Fastener demand in industrial machinery applications will also be healthy.

On the other hand, market gains will be less robust for automotive applications, which will be negatively impacted by increased use of other joining methods, such as adhesives, and the use of modular assembly.

China, which accounted for 9 percent of global demand in 2001, will again record some of the strongest gains. It will surpass Japan and become the second largest fastener market. The United States is currently the largest user of fasteners.

Prospects for growth are also favorable in Eastern Europe. These countries are in the process of transforming into market economies, and manufacturing and fixed investment are climbing. Fastener sales will also increase in Western Europe as the economy improves. Demand in Japan will also improve as recovery in fixed investment and manufacturing activity revives.

U.S. fastener demand will slow as manufacturing output and construction spending moderate through 2006.