Rising Demand for Water Purification Drives U.S. Activated Carbon Trade
IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Activated Carbon – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.
From January to September 2021, the U.S. activated carbon imports amounted to $166.3M, 13.2% more than in the same period a year earlier. In 2020 imports totalled $194M (-15.3% y-o-y), declining for the first time over the last three years due to lockdowns and supply chain disruptions. The activated carbon supplies will grow gradually over the next decade due to the increased need for water filtration, incl. wastewater treatment and capturing greenhouse emissions.
U.S. Activated Carbon Imports
From January to September 2021, the U.S. imported activated carbon worth $166.3M, 13.2% more than in the same period a year earlier. In 2020, after three years of growth, there was a significant decline in overseas purchases, when their volume decreased by 12.5% to 84K tonnes. In value terms, activated carbon imports fell notably to $194M in 2020, 15.3% less than the year before. Due to quarantine restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chains were disrupted, and production plants were locked down in many countries, leading to decreased activated carbon consumption and a slowdown in trade.
The activated carbon imports are expected to pursue an upward trend over the next decade. The growing need for activated carbon for water filtration is the primary driver in the medium term. With growing urbanization, rising construction rate and expanding chemical production, the amount of wastewater requiring treatment rise steadily. The enhancing manufacturing of filters for water purification will stimulate the activated carbon demand.
Global decarbonization should also become a powerful stimulus for trade development, as activated carbon can capture and collect greenhouse emissions. The medical need for activated carbon will also increase in the face of an increasing population, but intense competition from synthetic absorbents will hold back the trade growth.
India (17K tonnes), Sri Lanka (15K tonnes) and Australia (10K tonnes) were the leading suppliers of activated carbon imports to the U.S., with a combined 51% share of total imports. From 2007 to 2020, the most significant increases were in Australia (+64.3% per year), while purchases for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.
In value terms, India ($37M), Sri Lanka ($35M) and the Philippines ($17M) constituted the largest activated carbon suppliers to the U.S., with a combined 46% share of total imports. These countries were followed by China, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico and Germany, which together accounted for a further 35%.
In 2020, the average activated carbon import price amounted to $2,318 per tonne, declining by -3.2% against the previous year. There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In 2020, the country with the highest price was Canada ($2,764 per tonne), while the price for Mexico ($1,355 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.
U.S. Activated Carbon Exports
Exports of activated carbon from the U.S. for nine months of 2021 amounted to $227.3M, 12.5% higher than in the same period a year earlier. A year earlier, exports were characterized by negative dynamics, decreasing from $308.2M in 2019 to $273.7M in 2020. In physical terms, exports fell by 2.4% to 69K tons (according to IndexBox estimates) in 2020.
Belgium (13K tonnes), Canada (12K tonnes) and Mexico (9.6K tonnes) were the main destinations of activated carbon exports from the U.S., together accounting for 51% of total exports. China, South Korea, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, India and Brazil lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 46%.
In value terms, the largest markets for activated carbon exported from the U.S. were Mexico ($71M), Canada ($38M) and Belgium ($27M), with a combined 50% share of total exports. These countries were followed by China, Japan, South Korea, the UK, Singapore, India, the Netherlands, Brazil, Malaysia and Italy, which together accounted for a further 35%.
China saw the highest growth rate of the value of purchases from the U.S. over the period under review, while shipments for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.
In 2020, the average activated carbon export price amounted to $3,968 per tonne, waning by -9% against the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Mexico ($7,444 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Italy ($838 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.
Source: IndexBox Platform
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