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Analysis On China Carbon Black Production, Capacity, Import, Export and Price Trend In 2022

1. Overview

Carbon black, also known as carbon black, is a quasi-graphite structured substance formed by incomplete combustion or thermal cracking of hydrocarbon compounds (mainly petroleum derivatives) in the form of colloidal particles approximating to spheres, in the form of aggregates, with a pure black powder or granular appearance. The particle size, structure and surface activity of this rubber auxiliary vary considerably depending on the raw material and the production process. According to the different applications, carbon black can be divided into two categories: carbon black for rubber and carbon black for non-rubber.


2. Analysis on industry chain

The upstream of the industry chain of carbon black industry is the raw material link, mainly coal tar, anthracene oil and ethylene tar and other raw materials; the midstream is the production and supply link, mainly divided into carbon black for rubber and carbon black for non-rubber; the downstream is the carbon black for tires, rubber products, plastics, coatings, inks, batteries and other industries.


The main raw materials for the production of carbon black are coal tar, anthracene oil, ethylene tar and other raw material oils. Among them, coal tar and anthracene oil are the by-products of coking, accounting for more than 80% of the raw oil, and are the most important raw oil. Ethylene tar is a by-product of petroleum refining to generate ethylene, accounting for 16.6% of the raw oil.


From the downstream consumption structure of the industry, tires are the largest consumption area of carbon black in China, accounting for 66.7% of consumption in 2021. It is followed by other rubber products and plastics, accounting for 22.2% and 6.3% respectively.


3. The current situation of the industry

1) Production 

With the positive development of China's rubber and automobile industries in recent years, the rapid development of the carbon black industry has been promoted, and the overall industry production is on the rise. Affected by the epidemic caused by the lack of production, raw material tension and other factors, production has dropped significantly in 2020. With the epidemic being effectively controlled, production started to pick up. According to the information, China's carbon black production in 2021 is 5.2 million tons, an increase of 7.9% year-on-year.


In terms of production process distribution, China banned new dry granulation capacity and gradually eliminated traditional capacity after 2004, and now wet granulation has become the mainstream granulation process, with 99% of wet granulation carbon black production and 1% of dry granulation carbon black production in 2020.


2) Capacity

Thanks to the continuous expansion of the industry scale, China's carbon black production capacity has continued to rise in recent years. Specifically, in 2021, China's carbon black production capacity reached 8.2 million tons / year, an increase of 3.1%.


3) Price situation

From the carbon black price situation, in recent years, with the rise of upstream raw material prices, China's carbon black prices have also continued to rise. Specifically, the average price of carbon black in China increased from RMB7348/ton in January 2021 to RMB9998/ton in August 2022.


4) Import and export trade

From the perspective of carbon black import and export trade, China's carbon black is mainly exported, and the export volume is much larger than the import volume. Specifically, in 2021, the import volume of carbon black in China is 102,200 tons, the import amount is $317 million; the export volume is 721,700 tons, the export amount is $936 million.


5) Export distribution

From the perspective of export distribution, the top three regions of China's carbon black export value in 2021 are Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, accounting for 32.69%, 21.9% and 15.05% respectively.


4. Driving factors

1) Policy 

With the continuous development of China's carbon black industry, the industry has gradually emerged the problem of structural overcapacity, i.e., traditional carbon black has excess capacity, while some special carbon black relies on imports. Therefore, the state has introduced a series of directional guiding policies on carbon black to raise the entry threshold of the industry, focus on eliminating backward production capacity, optimize the industry pattern and enhance the international competitiveness of enterprises, creating a favorable policy environment for the industry.


2) Technology

From the situation of industry-related patent technology, with the continuous development of China's carbon black industry, the industry-related technology has also been continuously improved, and the number of industry-related patents has also been growing. According to the information, the number of carbon black-related patent applications in China in 2021 was 6,853, down 15.8% year-on-year.


5. Competition Pattern

At present, the market pattern of China's carbon black industry is relatively fragmented, and the concentration of the industry is low. From the perspective of production capacity, the CR3 of China's industry market in 2022 is only 29%, of which Black Cat ranks first with 14%, followed by Cabot and Jinneng Chemical, with 9% and 6% respectively.


6. Development trend

At present, the carbon black industry has shifted from the stage of high-speed growth to the stage of high-quality development. With the increasing constraints of resources and environment on the industry, the development of the industry are full of complexity and uncertainty, and the low-end market competition is big and homogenization is serious, the industry is facing more challenges. In recent years, the state has successively issued a series of relevant policies and regulations such as "Guidance Catalogue for Industrial Structure Adjustment" and "Catalogue for the Elimination of Backward Production Capacity, Processes and Products", which have pointed out the direction for the development of carbon black industry, energy saving and emission reduction, comprehensive utilization of resources, development of circular economy, scale efficiency, development of green products, etc. have become the focus of future development of the industry, for the extension of industrial chain, coke oven gas The encouragement and support of national policies provide favorable opportunities for the rapid development of enterprises with advanced technology and comprehensive utilization of resources, such as the extension of industrial chain and high value-added utilization of coke oven gas. China is the world's major producer of carbon black, accounting for nearly 50% of the total global production capacity. Under the supply-side reform driven by the dual-control regulation of energy consumption, it is expected that domestic small production capacity will face pressure to clear out in the future, and the market share of large-scale enterprises is expected to rise steadily.

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