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Since the crunch of 2017, needle coke supply has been an ongoing concern for the key demand sectors – graphite electrode and battery anode producers.


Despite substantial additions in China, capacity growth has been limited in the rest of the world where the majority of high quality needle coke (oil-based) is currently produced. Premium grades are essential to produce quality, large diameter UHP electrodes and increasingly for high performance battery anodes. Segmentation of the market is becoming more distinct, both between China and the rest of the world, and also by end use.

Through 2019, high quality needle coke supply has remained tight and supported prices. This is in contrast to lower grades (coal-based), that are primarily produced in China, where prices have fallen substantially. With no new capacity expected outside of China in the short term, we expect that the market for high quality needle coke will remain constrained, particularly as demand for UHP electrodes and battery anodes continues to grow.


QUALITY OF SUPPLY AS IMPORTANT AS VOLUME
IN THIS HIGHLY TECHNICAL MARKET

 

However, there are several other factors to consider in the years to come:

  • How will the IMO 2020 regulations impact decant oil supply, a critical feedstock for high quality, oil-based needle coke?
  • Needle coke quality is gradually improving in China. Will China become more competitive in this market and improve supply dynamics for high quality needle coke?
  • With anode demand growing, but yet to accelerate, how will needle coke be used in batteries of the future? How can China benefit from this relatively new demand sector?

CRU’s Graphite Electrode & Needle Coke Special Report answers these questions and more as we provide long term forecasts for both markets, alongside in-depth analysis and insight supported by extensive primary research and industry engagement.

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The CRU Steelmaking Raw Materials team sets the standard for providing in-depth market analysis and forecasts, price assessments and cost analysis for the global steelmaking raw materials industry.

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  • Metallurgical Coke

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