Previously Driven by the Growth of the Chemical Industry and Construction, the Global Activated Carbon Market to Struggle with the Pandemic - Global Trade Magazine
  August 24th, 2020 | Written by

Previously Driven by the Growth of the Chemical Industry and Construction, the Global Activated Carbon Market to Struggle with the Pandemic

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IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Activated Carbon – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The Pandemic-Related Shutdowns to Hamper the Growth of the Activated Carbon Market in 2020

The global activated carbon market expanded markedly to $4.7B in 2019, rising by 5.4% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). In general, the total consumption indicated a strong increase from 2007 to 2019: its value increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% over the last twelve-year period.

China (570K tonnes) remains the largest activated carbon consuming country worldwide, comprising approx. 25% of the total volume. Moreover, activated carbon consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, the U.S. (271K tonnes), twofold. India (229K tonnes) ranked third in terms of total consumption with a 10% share.

In China, activated carbon consumption increased at an average annual rate of +3.4% over the period from 2007-2019. In other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: the U.S. (+0.9% per year) and India (+4.3% per year).

In value terms, the largest activated carbon markets worldwide were the U.S. ($1.1B), China ($873M), and India ($379M), with a combined 50% share of the global market. These countries were followed by Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Viet Nam, Germany, South Korea, the UK, the Philippines, and Italy, which together accounted for a further 24%.

The countries with the highest levels of activated carbon per capita consumption in 2019 were South Korea (1,150 kg per 1000 persons), the U.S. (821 kg per 1000 persons), and Italy (791 kg per 1000 persons).

Activated carbon is used in the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the manufacturing of filtration systems for liquids and gases (both household and industrial filters, as well as gas masks). Accordingly, the dynamics of the world market for activated carbon as a whole reflects the overall GDP growth.

Until 2020, the global economy has been developing steadily for five years, although at a slower pace than in the previous decade. In early 2020, however, the global economy entered a period of the crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The quarantine measures that put on halt production and transport activity disrupt economic growth heavily throughout the world. According to World Bank forecasts, despite the gradual relaxing of the restrictive measures and unprecedented government support in countries that faced the pandemic in early 2020, the annual decline of the global GDP could amount to -5.2%.

The industrial sector has proven vulnerable to the pandemic as due to quarantine measures, industrial facilities were paused, and the drop in incomes makes the growth of end markets unfeasible, thereby hampering any expansion of the industrial manufacturing. Tight financial conditions and uncertainty regarding the length of the pandemic and the possible bottom of the related economic drop, as well as high volatility of financial markets and rising political tensions between the U.S. and China, disrupt capital investments in the immediate term, which is to put a drag on the expansion of the activated carbon market.

Taking into account the above, it is expected that in 2020, the consumption of activated carbon will drop by approx. 5%. In the medium term, as the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the market is expected to grow gradually, with an anticipated CAGR of +0.3% for the period from 2019 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 2.3M tonnes by the end of 2030.

China Remains the Largest Global Producer of Activated Carbon, while Australia Emerges as the Fastest-Growing Exporter

For the tenth consecutive year, the global market recorded growth in the production of activated carbon, which increased by 3.1% to 2.3M tonnes in 2019. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.8% from 2007 to 2019; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

China (801K tonnes) remains the largest activated carbon producing country worldwide, accounting for 35% of total volume. Moreover, activated carbon production in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, India (309K tonnes), threefold. The U.S. (242K tonnes) ranked third in terms of total production with an 11% share.

In China, activated carbon production increased at an average annual rate of +2.2% over the period from 2007-2019. In other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: India (+6.2% per year) and the U.S. (+0.1% per year).

Activated carbon is a widely traded commodity, with the share of exports in the total output fluctuating near 40% over the last decade. High trade intensity is determined mainly by the reason that some major consuming countries, particularly the U.S., lack domestic production to meet the domestic demand, while China, being a major global consumer of coal, also produces large volumes of coal-based products including activated carbon.

In 2019, after three years of growth, there was a decline in shipments abroad of activated carbon, when their volume decreased by -2.6% to 894K tonnes. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.2% from 2007 to 2019; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. In value terms, activated carbon exports fell modestly to $2B (IndexBox estimates) in 2019.

China was the main exporting country with an export of about 277K tonnes, which recorded 31% of total exports. India (102K tonnes) ranks second in terms of the total exports with an 11% share, followed by the Philippines (8.7%), Belgium (7.6%), the U.S. (7.5%), Germany (5.7%) and Sri Lanka (5.2%). The following exporters – Australia (35K tonnes), the Netherlands (31K tonnes), the UK (21K tonnes), Malaysia (20K tonnes), and Indonesia (14K tonnes) – together made up 14% of total exports.

Exports from China increased at an average annual rate of +1.1% from 2007 to 2019. At the same time, Australia (+19.4%), India (+16.3%), Germany (+7.5%), the Philippines (+6.4%), Sri Lanka (+6.4%), Belgium (+3.5%), Malaysia (+1.5%), the U.S. (+1.3%) and the UK (+1.3%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Australia emerged as the fastest-growing exporter exported in the world, with a CAGR of +19.4% from 2007-2019. By contrast, the Netherlands (-1.9%) and Indonesia (-3.8%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

In value terms, the largest activated carbon supplying countries worldwide were China ($450M), the U.S. ($292M), and India ($173M), together comprising 47% of global exports. Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Indonesia, Australia, and Malaysia lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 39%.

In 2019, the average activated carbon export price amounted to $2,195 per tonne, with an increase of 2.2% against the previous year. Over the period from 2007 to 2019, it increased at an average annual rate of +3.7%. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2018 when the average export price increased by 16% y-o-y. Over the period under review, average export prices hit record highs in 2019 and are likely to continue growing in years to come.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was the U.S. ($4,336 per tonne), while Australia ($1,339 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Indonesia, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform