Needle coke with merits of good orientation and excellent conductivity and thermal conductivity, is mainly used in graphite electrodes for electric steelmaking and lithium battery anode materials.

Against the backdrop of environmental regulation and supply-side reform in China, electric steelmaking demand has soared since 2017, boosting the demand for needle coke for ultrahigh & high power graphite electrodes; also, the demand for lithium battery artificial graphite anode material keeps rising, all of which led to short supply of needle coke in the Chinese market. In particular, China’s dependence on imported quality needle coke has widened the gap. In 2018, China imported 220 kilotons of needle coke mainly from Japan, South Korea, UK and the United States, 29.4% more than in the previous year, among which 40% was for graphite electrodes and 60% for anode materials.

The supply and demand gap and strong demand from downstream markets have pushed up needle coke prices in China since 2017. By the end of 2018, raw needle coke prices ranged at RMB14,000-16,000/ton and burnt needle coke at RMB25,000-30,000/ton; imported needle coke for graphite electrode was priced at USD3,200-4,000/ton and that for anode material at USD1,200-2,000/ton. In the first half of 2019, prices of imported Phillips 66 needle cokes hiked, of which those for graphite electrodes and anode materials surged by 23.53% and 16.67%, respectively.

In China, typical petroleum-based needle coke companies include Jinzhou Petrochemical, Shandong Yida New Material and Shandong Jingyang Technology; main coal-based needle coke players are Shanxi Hongte Coal Chemical, Anshan Open Carbon Thermal New Materials, Baowu Carbon, Qitaihe Baotailong Coal&Coal Chemicals Public and Fangda Xikemo (Jiangsu) Needle Coke Technology. A great number of companies at home and abroad have been allured by huge profits into the industry since 2017, as they do in 2019 when a few projects will be put into production, including Ansteel’s 40kt/a needle coke project, Pingdingshan Xuyang Xingyu New Materials Co., Ltd.’s 50kt/a needle coke project and Henan Kaitan New Materials Co., Ltd.’s 40kt/a needle coke project. China will boast a new needle coke capacity of about 450kt/a in late 2019 and 300kt/a in 2020.

The report highlights the following:
Global needle coke market (supply, demand and competition);
China needle coke market (development environment (including policy, technology and trade), supply and demand, competitive pattern, price trend and key projects);
China graphite electrode market (supply and demand, competitive pattern, price trend and needle coke demand);
China lithium battery anode material market (supply and demand, competitive pattern, price trend and needle coke demand);
7 global and 15 Chinese needle coke companies (operation, needle coke business, etc.).