Despite considerable Covid-19 uncertainty in Q2 2020, graphite prices remain high, with March 2020 prices for 94-97%C fine, medium and large size flake still significantly higher than their September 2017 prices – a time when graphite prices hit their lowest point. Prices have increased steadily since late 2017 as demand for flake graphite from the lithium-ion battery industry coincided with Chinese environmental inspections and then Covid-19 plant closures.
Sustained high prices have encouraged development of flake graphite projects outside of China. During 2019 and early 2020, several projects completed feasibility studies, prefeasibility studies, scoping studies, or resource updates. Meanwhile, Syrah Resources, which became the largest rest of world (ROW) producer in 2018, reduced its flake graphite output by two thirds from September 2019 and reports that it is positioned to manage an extended period of uncertainty.
Roskill is the only consulting company in the world that has up to date information and price forecasts available for petroleum needle coke, synthetic graphite, natural graphite, synthetic graphite end-uses, lithium-ion batteries, refractories, electrodes and steel under one roof. The interactions between these industries are complex and our knowledge of trends in both steel and batteries demand informs our insight on the graphite supply/demand balance.