FOCUS: Surging freight rates encourage demand shift in graphite market, sources say

Graphite consumers outside Asia, especially those in Europe and the United States, could diversify their supplier base because of skyrocketing costs for freight from China and the strength of the East Asian country’s yuan, although it will remain a major exporter of graphite, according to market sources.

China accounted for over 60% of the world’s total output of flake graphite during 2019 and is a major exporter of flake graphite, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). Supply dynamics have evolved since 2017 because of projects led by producers outside China, including Syrah Resources, an Australia-based graphite miner with operations in Mozambique. Syrah’s flake graphite exports to China amounted to about 75% of China’s total flake graphite imports of 193,000 tonnes in 2019, according to market sources. This flipped China from being a major exporter to a major importer of the material. Other major sources of flake graphite, such as Madagascar and Tanzania, have also increased their supplies of material internationally. Soaring freight rates and container shortage In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted graphite supply outside China. Production from Africa has slowed since Syrah halted output from its Balama mine in Mozambique in March. As a result,...


Jon Stibbs

Sybil Pan

November 23, 2020

10:17 GMT

London, Shanghai