World demand of activated carbon is expected to strengthen in 2018. The trend was following a positive growth in the last decade. Global imports of activated carbon in 2006 was 0.55 million MT and jumped to 0.84 million MT in 2016 which shows an increase by 54%. The average annual growth of world imports of activated carbon in the last decade was 4.9%. in 2017, the growth of demand for the product was 10.8%. USA, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Belgium were the main importing countries of activated carbon in the global market. The five countries absorbed 40% of the product from the global market during 2017.
Japan import of activated carbon in the first half of 2018 was 38,910 MT. The import volume was higher than that of previous year’s volume at 37,716 MT. This increase was following the increasing trend in the last three years. In 2017, Japan import of activated carbon was 86,181 MT in 2017 which increased by 7.9% opposed to that of previous year’s volume. Meanwhile, US import of activated carbon derived from coconut shell charcoal showed an increasing trend in the last 4 years. In 2014, US import of the product was 18.835 MT and jumped to 43,767 MT in 2015. The positive trend continued in 2016 when import of the activated carbon reached 45,358 MT. US import of the product has also gone up in 2017. In 2017, 53,721 MT of activated carbon was shipped to the US. However, according to the latest data, the trend is more likely to ease in 2018. In the first half of 2018, import coconut shell based activated carbon by US was 24,001 MT or went down by 14.4% against last year’s volume for the same period. During the period, India remained the major supplier for the commodity accounting for 40.3% of the total US import. Other exporting countries were Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico contributing 21.1%, 13.3%, 11.2% and 5.1% of the total.
India, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia are the major producing countries of shell charcoal based activated carbon. In the period of January-June 2018, India sent 47,494 MT of activated carbon to the global market. USA was still major destination of activated carbon from India. USA absorbed 24.4% of the total export of the product. Other major destinations include Sri Lanka, UK, Japan, China and Netherlands. It is worth noting that India exported 93,868 MT of activated carbon valued at US$140.6 million in 2017. The export increased by 21.6% compared to the previous period. The market destinations of activated carbon from India were ranging spreading to more than 100 countries. USA was the largest importing country accounting for 24,226 MT. Other major markets for India’s activated carbon were UK, Sri Lanka, UK, South Korea, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, China, and South Africa. Export volume to those countries varies from 3,103 MT to 5,252 MT.
Other major exporting country was Philippines. Export volume of the commodity from the Philippines was 23,641 MT for the period of January-April 2018. Germany, Sri Lanka and Japan were major importing countries for activated carbon from Philippines. Accumulated export volume to those countries was 46.1% of the total export. In 2017, the Philippines shipped 70,353 MT of activated carbon to international market which was 14.5% higher compared to the corresponding period of previous year i.e. 60,162 MT. The product was shipped to 51 various destinations. Germany, Japan and USA were the main destinations of activated carbon from the Philippines which absorbed more than 49% of total export volume of activated carbon from the Philippines.
Sri Lanka, another main producing country, for activated carbon (AC) from coconut shell charcoal (CSC) experienced a slight decrease in demand for the product in the first half of 2018. In the period, accumulated export volume of coconut shell based activated carbon from Sri Lanka was 19,419 MT or slightly decreased by 2% against previous year’s volume for the same period. USA was still major destination of activated carbon from Sri Lanka followed by China, Japan and South Korea. USA absorbed more than 28.7% of export of Sri Lankan activated carbon. It should be noted that Sri Lanka was enjoying a positive export growth for the product in the last few years. In 2017, total export volume of the product was 39,591 MT which was 13% higher than the previous year volume for the same period i.e. 34,987 MT. In the period, export of Sri Lanka’s coconut shell based activated carbon went to more than 65 countries worldwide. The breakdown is as follows: 32% exports of activated carbon from Sri Lanka were shipped to Europe, 31.7% to America, 30.1% to Asia and 6.2% to the rest of the world.
After experiencing an easing trend in the last two years, Indonesian export of activated carbon in the first half of 2018 showed an increasing trend. Export of the product from Indonesia was 12,691 MT which was higher by 30% compared to last year’s volume for the same period. It is worth noting that export volume of the product from Indonesia dropped by 11.3% in 2017 and 12% in 2016. USA was the main destination of activated carbon from Indonesia. USA absorbed 21% of activated carbon from Indonesia during the period. Australia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China were other important destinations of the product. Indonesia generated an export earning of the commodity trade in the observed period at US$18.65 million.
The price of shell product showed an increasing trend in all producing countries except for Philippines. Price of coconut shell charcoal in Indonesia was US$483/MT in January 2018 and reached US$555/MT in July 2018. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka price of the product was US$491/MT in January 2018 and rose to US$525/MT in July 2018. In India, price of the product in January 2018 was US$572/MT and went up to US$616/MT in July 2018. The increasing trend reflected a high demand of the charcoal. The increasing demand for coconut shell based products such as activated carbon, briquette, sisha, and fuel for boiler has pushed the demand of the charcoal.
As the price of shell charcoal increasing, activated carbon manufacturers adjusted their prices following the increase in shell charcoal prices especially in Sri Lanka. Price of activated carbon in Sri Lanka for January 2018 was US$2,143/MT and gradually increased to reach US$2,650/MT in June 2018 In Indonesia, price of activated carbon seems more stable in the first half of 2018 with the average of US$1,616/MT.