CLEVELAND - World demand for carbon black is forecast to rise 4.3 percent per year through 2013 to 11.6 million metric tons, bolstered by a healthy global rubber market over the same period. Gains will be exaggerated to some extent by the fact that growth will be rising off a relatively weak base in 2008, when a significant part of the world experienced the beginnings of recession. The vast majority of carbon black finds use as reinforcement material in vulcanized rubber goods, with over 60 percent devoted to motor-vehicle tires alone. Carbon black demand from the tire sector is projected to increase 3.7 percent per year through 2013. The non-tire-rubber carbon black market will expand 4.8 percent per year. These and other trends are presented in World Carbon Black, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
The market for special blacks will advance a strong 5.9 percent per year to 1.2 million metric tons. While special blacks comprise less than 10 percent of the overall global carbon black market on a tonnage basis, they command considerably higher per-kilogram prices than commodity furnace blacks. Carbon black manufacturers will continue to spend a disproportionate amount of their research and development budgets on the special blacks sector.
The Asia-Pacific region will post the strongest gains in carbon black demand through 2013. The large markets of China and India will post particularly impressive gains due to a continuing rapid expansion in their respective motor-vehicle and tire industries that will be driven by robust economic growth in both nations. China and India saw the largest increases in new carbon black capacity among all countries of the world over the 2003 to 2008 period, a trend that will continue through 2013. Demand for carbon black in the developed parts of the world will continue to post below-average gains through 2013. Carbon black demand in the United States and Western Europe will recover from declines experienced in 2008, but growth in both markets will continue to significantly lag the global average through 2013. The Japanese market holds particularly weak prospects, although growth in the country will be coming off a relatively strong 2008.