Graphite: China’s H1 exports of natural graphite up 9% on previous year

Chinese exports of natural graphite have continued to rise, reaching an estimated 180kt in the first six months of 2018, a 9% increase on the same period the previous year. Exports (which include intermediate products such as spherical graphite) are rising to meet rapid growth in demand from the battery industry. Chinese exports have also been boosted since the scrapping of the 20% export tax on natural graphite in January 2017. Natural graphite exports subsequently increased to 344kt for the full year 2017, 44% above the 239kt figure for 2016.

Roskill view: Demand for spherical graphite continues to grow rapidly for use in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. Roskill forecasts graphite demand from this application to grow by 23-27%py to 2028 with robust growth from the electric vehicle and energy storage sectors. Japan accounted for around 55% of the shipments of spherical graphite from China in 2017. Demand for spherical graphite continues to grow rapidly for use in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. 

The export tax was introduced as part of a programme to increase shipments of higher value, processed products, at the expense of basic grades, but has since been removed. Production of spherical graphite, expanded graphite, and other processed products is now well-established in China and, with significant overcapacity in both the flake graphite and spherical graphite markets, taxes restricting basic flake graphite exports are no longer necessary. Exports of heavily processed spherical graphite are still encouraged with a 13% tax rebate.

Roskill’s Natural & Synthetic Graphite: Global Industry, Markets & Outlook report was published in June 2017. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages or to access further information.