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Reflections on Singapore

The Carbon Black 2011 Conference in Asia Pacific conference concluded on Friday, and Notch was honored to deliver one of the conference’s keynote addresses. The conference was organized by Boston & Billman and was very capably hosted by Sukhjeet Sekhon of Glencore, and together they put together a well organized, well attended conference in a beautiful location. Congratulations to all involved.

The tone of the conference was one of guarded optimism as many carbon black suppliers are entering 2012 with volumes essentially sold out and pricing on the rise, and the industry is investing heavily in new capacity, especially in China, India, and Russia. That said, there is concern about next year’s demand picture as the fourth quarter was weaker than expected (even taking into account holiday shutdowns). Further, there are very real concerns that the Eurozone’s financial crisis could lead to a double-dip recession. Other major areas of concern for suppliers include feedstock availability (especially low sulfur feedstock), the potential for tighter environmental regulations, and continued encroachment by silica into tire tread applications.

Here are some of the most recent production forecasts from the various regional outlooks:

India (courtesy of Ashok Goyal of Phillips Carbon Black): FY 2010: 674 KT FY 2011: 693 KT (+2.8%) – stronger gains hindered by increased imports, especially from China (NOTE: FY runs April to March)

Russia (courtesy of Igor Levenberg of Makrochem): 2010: 671 KT 1H 2011: 359 KT 2011 Annualized: 718 KT (+7%)

Ukraine (courtesy of Igor Levenberg of Makrochem): 2010: 76 KT 1H 2011: 52 KT 2011 Annualized: 104 KT (+37%)

China (courtesy of Liu Min of the China Carbon Black Institute): 2010: 3,375 KT 2011f: 3,691 KT (+9.4%)

Japan (courtesy of Midori Hajikano of Tokai Carbon): 2009: 577 KT 2010: 723 KT (+25%)

Notch Consulting forecasts that global carbon black production will grow 6.1% in 2011 to 10.8 million tonnes.

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