Driven by the robust global demand, exports of Graphite Electrodes from China in Jan’18 exceeded the exports in Dec’17 by over 20% M-o-M.

 

With rising steel production across the world, and the Electric Arc Furnace route of production gaining more and more popularity due to the inherent environmental friendliness over the Blast Furnace method, demand for the graphite electrodes have been escalating to the never-before levels in the international sphere.

 

According to Chinese Customs, the country has exported 24,166 MT graphite electrode in Jan’18, up by over 20% against Dec’17 shipments – which stood at 20,075 MT.

 

At the same time, tightening supply of the electrodes and sky-rocketing prices are emerging as the grave causes of concern today for countries like Iran and Turkey that produce most of their steel by melting Scrap; are having to scramble to secure adequate supplies of the electrode.

 

In Jan’18, Iran became the top destination for Chinese graphite electrode exports, accounting for around 31% out of the total export share; followed by Turkey and Russia.

 

However, this trend of China being the biggest exporting country of Graphite Electrode could soon be a thing of the past as Chinese Graphite Electrode consumption will rise rapidly on the growing importance of scrap in the country, and a push by the govt. to curb pollution has led to many companies to switch to EAF route of steel making.

 

China’s closure of inefficient induction furnaces and polluting blast furnaces is expected to be replaced by electric arc furnace. New policy measures announced in China, ensures zero growth in steel capacity by requiring steel capacity replacement to be kept in ratio – 1.25:1 or 1:1 (regional differentiation).

 

About 56 new EAF furnaces are coming up in by the end of current year with an aggregate capacity of ~60-70 MT. Thus Chinese production through EAF route is expected to rise from 5.2% (CY 2016) to about ~13%. Graphite Electrode purchase by Chinese steel makers is expected to gain more steam in 2018 on account of rising consumption in the country going ahead.

 

China Graphite Electrode Export
Importing Country Jan’18 Dec’17 2017 2016
Iran         7,412         1,722     22,206         7,541
Turkey         1,881         2,632     15,603         8,317
Russia         1,590         2,211     23,111     20,660
United States         1,378         1,996     15,827         6,772
Italy         1,322         1,585     12,352     11,346
Vietnam         1,137            376         9,102         7,300
Indonesia            935           453         3,749         1,060
Netherlands            870            893         9,995         6,167
Thailand            795            608         8,303         5,682
Others         6,846         7,600     81,446     59,243
Total     24,166     20,075   201,695   134,087