New data produced by Smithers Rapra suggests the carbon black market has grown at an average of 5.4 per cent during the period between 2011 and 2015.
As a results demand reached 13 million tons in 2015. To put this figure into context, global demand for carbon black was estimated at 10.7 million tons in 2011 – and this figure is said to represent "a good recovery" from the 15 per cent contraction between 2008 and 2009.
Smithers Rapra's "The Future of Carbon Black to 2021" report forecasts market growth of 3.74 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the period. Increased demand in "tire, non-tire rubber and specialties markets, coupled with market forces in developed and emerging economies", but mostly tire demand, is said to be behind the growth.
Matthew Hartley, the report's author, said: "The market is being driven primarily by demand growth in tires, with investments in capacity for passenger vehicle tires and light truck tires continuing strongly, and a stable replacement market.
The off-road tire market has seen good growth as a result of construction and mining investments. The swathe of new tire investments that occurred in 2015, in North America in particular, will continue into 2016 with the promise of continued good growth."
Smithers Rapra data shows the US is increasingly importing carbon black. Over the past five years imports to the country have decreased from Canada and Mexico and increased from China, Japan, India and Western Europe. There have also been increased imports from Russia, which quadrupled from 2013 to 2014 and doubled in volume from 2014 to 2015 (based on incomplete trade reporting for 2015), Smithers said.