World Carbon Black

Freedonia Group Inc
February 1, 2010
284 Pages - SKU: FG2608876
Countries covered: Global

Global demand to rise 4.3% annually through 2013
World carbon black demand is forecast to rise 4.3 percent per year through 2013 to 11.6 million metric tons, bolstered by a healthy global rubber market over the same period. Gains will be exaggerated to some extent by the fact that growth will be rising off a relatively weak 2008 base, when a significant part of the world saw the beginnings of recession. The vast majority of carbon black finds use as reinforcement material in vulcanized rubber goods, including over 60 percent in motor vehicle tires alone. Carbon black demand from the tire sector is projected to increase 3.7 percent per year through 2013 to 6.9 million metric tons. The nontire rubber carbon black market will expand 4.8 percent per year through 2013 to 3.6 million metric tons.

Special blacks to be fastest growing market
The market for special blacks will advance a strong 5.9 percent per year to 1.2 million metric tons. While special blacks comprise less than ten percent of the overall global carbon black market on a tonnage basis, they command considerably higher per-kilogram prices than commodity furnace blacks. Carbon black manufacturers will continue to spend a disproportionate portion of their research and development budget on the special blacks sector. In addition to higher margins, a strong position in special blacks offers suppliers greater protection from cyclicality in the highly interconnected rubber, tire and motor vehicle industries. Although demand for special blacks will remain concentrated in the plastics, inks and paints sectors, other uses such as conductive fillers will hold the best growth prospects through 2013.

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Additional Information

Asia/Pacific region to post strongest gains in demand
The Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan, will post the strongest gains in carbon black demand through 2013. The large markets of China and India will post particularly impressive gains due to a continuing rapid expansion in their respective motor vehicle and tire industries that will be driven by robust economic growth in both nations. China and India saw the largest increases in new carbon black capacity among all countries of the world over the 2003 to 2008 period, a trend that will continue through 2013.

Demand for carbon black in the developed parts of the world will continue to post below-average gains through 2013, with the large US and Japanese markets holding particularly weak prospects. Carbon black demand in Western Europe will recover from recent declines, but growth will continue to significantly lag the global average.

Carbon black capacity utilization rates dropped significantly in developed countries in 2008 due to economic slowdown and/or recession. This situation was especially dire in the US, where capacity utilization rates fell below 70 percent, resulting in several carbon black plants being closed or mothballed. Through 2013, the US and Western Europe will see capacity reductions and consequently, an expansion in utilization rates.

North America and Western Europe, which combined produced 48 percent of the world’s carbon black in 1998, will account for just 23 percent of global output in 2013. Conversely, the Asia/ Pacific region, which produced 36 percent of the world’s carbon black in 1998, will account for a 57 percent share in 2013.

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