Amidst the supply and demand imbalance in anode materials, graphitization prices have been the first to take a hit. At present, the transaction price of graphitization stands at less than half of its value at the beginning of 2022, generally falling below $2,100 per ton (¥15,000) and exhibiting a continuous downward trajectory.
Anode materials have consistently developed under the overarching theme of cost reduction and increased efficiency. On one hand, companies have expanded production, volume, and shipments, driven by demand in the power and energy storage industries. On the other hand, these firms have focused on cost reduction. As artificial graphite remains the mainstream choice in the anode market, the trend of integration has emerged as a means to curb costs.
As we usher in 2023, concerns regarding anode material overcapacity are surfacing. The graphitization process, which accounts for over half of the anode production costs, has initiated a price war as a result of oversupply and overcapacity. The overall price of graphitization foundries has declined by 30%, with some even pushing the price below $1,400 per ton (¥10,000), nearly reaching the cost threshold.
Moving forward, cost reduction will continue to be the central strategy for anode material companies. With low barriers to entry, a myriad of companies have ventured into the anode market. However, major battery manufacturers are becoming increasingly cautious, making cost reduction the primary focus of competition. Two key changes have emerged in the industry: a pronounced Matthew effect and the impending elimination of low-end production capacity.
Anode material players can be categorized into three distinct groups: traditional anode material companies, upstream raw material firms, and cross-border entrants. The first two categories boast core advantages in at least one of the processes involved in anode production, prompting the trend of integrated construction for cost reduction.
Leading enterprises are bolstering their integrated production capacity, with the integrated supply rate reaching approximately 50%. As demand for anodes escalates in the upcoming quarter, graphitization prices may experience a modest increase. Nonetheless, the anode market, concentrating on cost reduction, will persist in its fierce competition for orders.