The global graphite market was valued at $15.06 billion in 2014 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% during the period 2015 – 2020. The major drivers behind the growth of the graphite market include increasing use of graphite in batteries, growing demand of graphite in steel industry, and increasing use of graphite in automotive industry. At the same time, increase in electric vehicle ownership is expected to propel lithium-ion market. The commercial acceptance of graphene is anticipated to provide further opportunities for the graphite market in near future. Graphene is expected to play an important role in near future by creating a positive impact on various industries, such as power generation, conductor, battery, and electronics industries. These factors are thus going push the demand of graphite.
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High lubrication and light weight property of graphite helps in gaining popularity among automotive industry. Graphite is a useful material used in cylinder heads, clutch materials, and gaskets. The use of graphite in brake pads has increased significantly due to its low noise braking features. At the same time, graphite is one of the useful elements used in the production of ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). In the recent years, CFRP is gaining popularity among passenger car manufacturer due to its light weight feature, which helps in reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
In recent years, the demand for graphite is increasing with growing steel industry. Graphite is used in the steel industry as a liner for ladles and crucibles (mainly used to hold molten metal), components in firebricks lining furnaces, and as an agent to increase the carbon content in steel. According to the World Steel Association, the global steel industry produced 1,606 million tons of crude steel in 2013 as compared to 1,559 million tons in 2012. The positive impact of growing demand for steel on graphite market is anticipated to remain high in the next few years, as the graphite market find largest application in steel industry.
Based on form, the synthetic graphite segment hold the largest share, with $13.64 billion value, of the total market in 2014; and it is expected to reach $17.14 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 3.9% for the period 2015-2020. By geography, the Asia-Pacific graphite market (largest market in 2014) increased by 4% CAGR during 2011-2014 to reach $10.19 billion in 2014 in terms of value. Based on application, the electrode industry holds the largest share of the global graphite market.
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However, the increasing demand-supply gap of graphite is hindering the graphite market growth. The increasing use of graphite in automotive, steel, and photovoltaic (PV) industries may create a huge gap in the demand and supply balance in near future. In 2013, the China PV industry witnessed rapid development, due to which the global supply and demand gap for the isostatic form of graphite broadened to 1,500 tons.
The key companies operating in the global graphite market include Triton Minerals Ltd., Lamboo Resources Limited, Mason Graphite, Focus Graphite Inc., Energizer Resources Inc., Northern Graphite Corporation, Alabama Graphite Corp., Flinders Resources Ltd., Syrah Resources Limited, SGL Carbon SE, GrafTech International Holdings Inc, Graphite India Limited, Nippon Graphite Industries, Co., Ltd., Asbury Graphite Mills, Inc, Showa Denko K.K., and Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd.
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