Market Review of Coconut Shell Charcoal
As expected, global demand of activated carbon in 2020 declined amid the pandemic. In the period of January-December 2020, global imports of activated carbon were 0.83 million tons which was lower by 6.2% compared to the 2019’s volume. USA was the largest importing country for the product followed Japan and Germany. USA imported 83.8 thousand tons which lowered by 12.5% as opposed to the volume a year earlier. US import of activated carbon derived from coconut shell charcoal shrank as well. US Census Bureau recorded import of the product was only 44,787 MT or dropped by 14% as compared to previous year’s volume. Meanwhile, Japan imports of activated carbon fell by 11.5% to 77,053 tons against the previous year’s volume of 87,041 tons meaning that Japan experienced lower demand of the product for two consecutive years.
Amid a weak demand, export of activated carbon from several main producing countries are increasing. In the period of January-December 2020, India dispatched 108,742 MT of activated carbon to the global market creating export earnings of US$188.31 million. The export leveled up by 6.67% as opposed to previous year’s volume. In the period of January-June 2021, India exported 63,129 MT of activated carbon valued US$119.2 million which was 33.5% higher than export volume a year earlier. USA was still a main destination for activated carbon from India. USA absorbed more than 17% of Indian activated carbon during January-June 2021. Other major destinations of activated carbon from India were Sri Lanka, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Japan, and China.
Another major exporting country which is experiencing an increase in export volume of activated carbon is Philippines. Export volume of the commodity from the Philippines during January-December 2020 was 76,979 MT. The export volume declined by 1.5% as opposed to the previous year’s volume. During January-April 2021, export of the product reached 24,761 MT which was lower than the previous year’s volume of 25,730 MT. During the period, major importing countries of the product from Philippines were Germany, Japan, USA, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Amid the pandemic, export volume of coconut shell based activated carbon from Sri Lanka showed an increasing trend. During the period of January-December 2020, Sri Lanka shipped 45,306 MT activated carbon to various countries. The volume was 7% higher than the volume in the previous year. The export seems to keep increasing in 2021. During January-July 2021, export of coconut shell based activated carbon from Sri Lanka recorded a growth of 19.6% from 25,023 MT to 29,938 MT. USA is still major destination for coconut shell based activated carbon from Sri Lanka. USA received more than 30% of export of Sri Lankan activated carbon during the period. Other major destinations include China, Japan, UK, and Turkey.
Meanwhile, as expected, export of activated carbon from Indonesia declined in 2020. During January-December 2020, export of activated carbon from Indonesia was 27,614 MT. The export went down by 3.8% compared to previous year’s volume for the same period. It created export earnings of US$39.96 million. In the first half of 2021, Indonesia shipped 12,304 MT of activated carbon to global market creating export earnings of US$18.2 million. China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and South Korea were the main destination of activated carbon from Indonesia. They received 4,250 MT, 1,229 MT, 1,181 MT, 1,017 MT, and 818 MT respectively accounting for 70% of total export.
Price of coconut shell charcoal in the first half of 2021 maintained its high level. During January-July 2021, monthly average of the price was USD593/MT in Indonesia which was 10% higher than a year earlier. In the same period, the price average in Philippines was 41% higher as opposed to the previous year. Similarly, average price of the charcoal increased in Sri Lanka by 37% compared to the same period in 2020. The price is expected to keep in high level attributed a tight supply due to lower coconut production in those countries.
Meanwhile, price of activated carbon started to level up as in the first half of 2021. In Sri Lanka, price of activated carbon in December 2020 was US$2,358/MT and reached US$2,739 in June 2021. Likewise, price of activated carbon increased in Indonesia from US$1,207/MT in December 2020 to US$1,634/MT in June 2021. Price of coconut shell charcoal based activated carbon is expected to keep strengthening as price of coconut shell charcoal is appreciated.