Weak flake graphite concentrate demand has forced global capacity utilisation under 50% for a second consecutive year.
Flake graphite is used primarily in the steel industry – in refractory bricks and as a recarburising agent – and as a feedstock for battery anodes.
Although there was a marginal increase in production as a result of new supply coming online in Madagascar and the easing of environmental restrictions in China, falling demand from industrial markets kept output at low levels.
China continued to lead the decline with a capacity utilisation rate of 37%.
While the country accounts for 72% of installed capacities worldwide, it only had a 55% share of total flake graphite production.
Elsewhere, production decreased in both Canada and Russia.
With other producing countries either maintaining or achieving marginal increases on their production rates in 2014, the market remained in excess with prices decreasing 8.3% throughout the year according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Graphite Price Index.
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