Graphite electrode prices reached $22,000-40,000 per tonne cfr Turkey in 2017, compared with $2,000 per tonne cfr Turkey in 2016, according to market sources.
This massive price rise has had significant consequences for the steel industry, which uses graphite electrodes in electric-arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking, where scrap is melted to produce crude steel for new products. They are also used in the ladle furnace metallurgy stages of both EAF and blast furnace-basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) steel production.
This has, in turn, led to sharply higher production costs for steelmakers and, as a result, higher prices for steel consumers and finished steel end-users.
Needle coke demand
The tightness in the electrodes market was driven by Chinese production cuts and increased demand from the emerging electric vehicle (EV) sector for needle coke. This material, as well as being the key ingredient for making graphite electrodes, is an essential component in EV batteries.
Global needle coke output will...