Smithers Rapra forecasts Carbon Black market to grow at 3.74% CAGR over next 5 years

The carbon black market is linked to the automobile business, its fortunes rise and fall with those of tire sales. Global carbon black demand was estimated at 10.7 million in 2011, showing a good recovery from what was a 15% contraction over 2008–2009. The market has since grown at an average of 5.4% over 2011 to 2015 to reach an estimated 13 million tons in 2015according to exclusive market data from Smithers Rapra.

The Future of Carbon Black to 2021 forecasts market growth driven by increased demand in the major markets of tires, non-tire rubber and specialties, coupled with market forces in developed and emerging economies.

The market is being driven primarily by demand growth in tires, with investments in capacity for passenger vehicle tires and light truck tires continuing strongly, and a stable replacement market. The off-road tire market has seen good growth as a result of construction and mining investments. The swathe of new tire investments that occurred in 2015, in North America in particular, will continue into 2016 with the promise of continued good growth

Matthew Hartley, author of the report.

Carbon black is a functional material predominantly used in reinforcement applications, where it increases tensile strength, hardness, abrasion and tear resistance of materials, so improving strength and durability. Its leading application is as a reinforcing agent in producing vulcanised rubber goods. The majority of carbon black consumption demand is in tires. It is also used in non-tire rubber applications, including hosing, rollers and conveyor belts, gaskets, wire and cable sleeves. The 2015 demand for carbon black was estimated at 13.2 million tons.

The market rebound from the 2009 global downturn was strong, from 8.4 million tons in 2009 back to almost pre-downturn levels of 9.8 million tons in 2010, a CAGR of around 6.1%. In addition to its reinforcement properties, carbon black provides pigmentation, imparting colour, jetness, undertones, gloss and opacity to products. It provides protection to some degree from the ultraviolet and infrared ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum and thermal insulation. Some of these other properties make it useful in specialty applications. The biggest specialty end use segment is polymer applications, many of which are also linked to the automotive industry.

The Future of Carbon Black to 2021 details a number of notable trends occurring across the market globally and outlines how these affect the import and export of the material geographically.

The US has demonstrated a trend of increasing volumes of carbon black imports from outside North America. Over the past five years imports from Canada and Mexico have decreased as an increasing volume has been received from China, Japan, India and Western Europe.

Other notable trends include increased imports from Russia, which quadrupled from 2013 to 2014 and (based on incomplete trade reporting for 2015) doubled in volume from 2014 to 2015. Other countries exporting to the US include China, India, Czech Republic and Germany. Greater volumes of carbon black are expected to arrive from Russia and China.

A growing Chinese trend is the export of carbon black to the US, Poland and Turkey. Increasing volumes have been exported to these regions. Additionally, Western Europe receives a significant volume of Chinese exports. This has resulted in anti-dumping measures being investigated and asserted in some countries, most recently in India and the US.

Unless new capacity is developed, current global capacity will struggle to meet market demands. This is potentially advantageous for producers, since a tight market will usually bring about price increases. Additionally, plants will be operating at higher utilisation rates, achieving scales of economy and

realising more profitable operations. High operating rates means a higher throughput and higher profit margins.

The Future of Carbon Black to 2021 is available for £4,200.

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