This report describes and evaluates the global graphite market. It covers two five-year periods, 2014 to 2018, termed the historic period, and 2018 through 2022, the forecast period.
The graphite market covered in the report consists of the revenues generated from sales of natural graphite (amorphous, flake and vein). This report excludes sales of synthetic graphite.
The global graphite market reached a value of nearly USD 1,282.7 million in 2018, having declined at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -0.9% since 2014, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.4% to nearly USD 1,409.5 million by 2022.
Decline in the historic period was mainly due to the drastic fall in graphite prices during 2015 and 2016 and slight decrease in graphite production volumes in 2016, partially due to low demand from the steel sector. However, post 2016 the global market has gradually recovered supported by rising prices and increasing demand from various end use industries. This trend is expected to continue in the forecast period.
Volatility in the historic period resulted from the combination of factors such as the rise in smartphone sales, high demand for automobiles, growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries, high demand from refractories manufacturing, growth in steel and aluminum production and processing, strict environmental regulations, mining accidents, and skills shortages. Going forward, growing demand for electric vehicles, opening of new graphite mines which is expected to ensure steady and strong supply, rising commercial applications of graphene (made from graphite), and growing demand for energy storage will drive growth. Factors that could hinder the growth of the graphite market in the future include reductions in free trade, and innovations in lubrication technology.
The graphite market is segmented by product type into flake graphite and non-flake graphite. The flake graphite market was the largest segment of the graphite market in 2018 at 86.1% or USD 1,103.9 million. The non-flake graphite segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment going forward at a CAGR of 4.2%.
The graphite market is also segmented by application into refractories, batteries, lubricants/crucibles, foundry, pencils, and others. Refractories was the largest segment of the graphite market by application in 2018 at 32.7% or USD 419.9 million. The graphite market for batteries applications is expected to be the fastest-growing segment going forward at a CAGR of 5.33%.
The graphite market is also segmented by flake size into large, jumbo, medium, small and fine. The large flake size graphite market was the largest segment of the graphite market by flake size in 2018 at 26.6% or USD 341.7 million. The jumbo flake size graphite segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment going forward at a CAGR of 22.04%.
Asia-Pacific was the largest region in the global graphite market, accounting for 70.2% of the global market in 2018. It was followed by Western Europe, North America and then the other regions. Going forward, the fastest-growing regions in the graphite market will be Eastern Europe and Africa, where growth will be at CAGRs of 3.0% and 2.9% respectively. These will be followed by Asia-Pacific and North America, where the markets are expected to grow at CAGRs of 2.6% and 2.5% respectively.
The global graphite market is highly fragmented with a large number of small entities with minor share. Bigger players in the market include Kibaran Resource, Triton Minerals Ltd., Syrah Resources Limited, Tirupati Carbons & Chemicals Private Limited, and Focus Graphite Inc.
The global general mineral mining market, of which the graphite market is a segment, reached a value of nearly USD 147.5 billion in 2018, having declined at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -4.7% since 2014 due to fluctuations in commodity prices during the historic period. However, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.2% to nearly USD 161.3 billion by 2022 in line with other commodities. The graphite market was the fifteenth largest segment of the general mineral mining market accounting for 0.87% of the total. The salt mining market was the largest segment of the general mineral mining market in 2018, accounting for USD 30.66 billion or 20.8% of the total. The other general mineral mining segment is expected to grow the fastest at a CAGR of 7.51% during 2018-2022.
The top opportunities in the graphite market will arise in the flake graphite market, which will gain USD 94.62 billion of global annual sales by 2022. The graphite market size will gain the most in China at USD 57.77 billion. Market-trend-based strategies for the graphite market include deploying underground-drones for 3D mapping, investing in graphite production sites in Africa, investing in autonomous technologies and investing in big data analytics. Player-adopted strategies in the graphite industry include expanding graphite business lines and expanding graphite product portfolios through fundraising.
To take advantage of the opportunities, The Business Research Company recommends the graphite mining companies to consider investing in research and development to find new ways to purify natural graphite, focusing on development of graphene, and offering competitive pricing, among other strategies.