In 2021, the output of ultra-high-power graphite electrodes outside China will account for about 90% of the total output of all graphite electrodes in the world excluding China. During the period, due to the dismantling of low-capacity factories, long-term environmental rectification and re-construction, production capacity outside China decreased, resulting in a continuous decrease in production outside China. The gap between production and consumption is filled by exporting graphite electrodes from China.
Fluctuations in global graphite electrode consumption are mainly due to fluctuations in demand from the downstream steel industry. Since 2016, the Chinese government has focused on re-structuring China’s domestic steel industry, resulting in limited Chinese converter steel production and lower exports. In addition, advanced economies typically have larger electric arc furnace steel industries and enact a range of protective trade policies to protect their domestic steelmakers. The decrease in China’s steel exports has led to an increase in steel production outside China, especially in electric arc furnace steel production, which has led to a corresponding increase in the demand for graphite electrodes.
In the future, with the recovery of the electric arc furnace steelmaking industry, the graphite electrode market is expected to resume long-term growth. In 2026, the global graphite electrode production and consumption excluding China is expected to reach 0.86 million tons and 1.09 million tons, respectively, with a CAGR of 5.0% and 4.9% from 2021 to 2026, respectively.