2020-2021 Silicon Carbide Market Development Trend And Price Trend Analysis

Silicon Carbide Product Introduction

What is silicon carbide?

Silicon carbide (SiC), also known as moissanite and emery, is an inorganic substance. It is made by high-temperature smelting of raw materials such as quartz sand, petroleum coke or coal coke, wood chips through a resistance furnace. Silicon carbide is often used as a deoxidizer in the iron and steel industry. According to its color, it can be divided into black silicon carbide and green silicon carbide.

Silicon carbide has a wide range of applications

Silicon carbide (SiC) is mainly used in steel smelting, abrasives, metallurgical raw materials, semiconductor devices, automobiles, and other fields. Among them, in the field of semiconductor devices, silicon carbide is one of the representatives of the third generation of semiconductor materials.

Application AreaBrief Introduction
Electric Vehicle(EV)It can be used as an important material in charging modules and electric modules in electric vehicles.
New DisplaySilicon carbide single crystal can be used for LED fabrication.
ElectrocatalysisSilicon carbide can replace platinum as a new catalyst for fuel cells.
Non-ferrous MetallurgyTaking advantage of silicon carbide’s good mechanical properties and strong corrosion-resistance, it can be used as a refractory material for metallurgical equipment lining materials and device nozzles.
AerospaceSilicon carbide is an important material for the preparation of aero engines.
The main application areas of silicon carbide

Compared with the first-generation semiconductor materials of silicon and germanium and the second-generation semiconductor materials of gallium arsenide and phosphating solution, silicon carbide as a third-generation semiconductor material has a variety of material advantages:

  • The band gap is large and the critical breakdown electric field strength is high.
  • The electron saturation migration rate is high, the electron density is high, and the thermal conductivity is high.
  • Low dielectric constant, high frequency and high efficiency, high pressure resistance and high temperature resistance.
  • Strong anti-radiation ability and stable chemical properties.

Because of its excellent performance, semiconductor devices made of silicon carbide as raw materials are emerging in strategies such as semiconductor lighting, 5G communication technology, solar energy, smart grids, new energy grid-connected, high-speed rail transit, national defense and military, new energy vehicles, and wireless fast charging.

Industry Overview of Silicon Carbide Market

Demand from the Asia-Pacific region accounts for a major share of the global silicon carbide market in 2020

In 2020, the Asia-Pacific region (East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania) will occupy the largest market share in the global silicon carbide industry. The dominance is due to the growing sales of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in China, Japan, South Korea, and India. As early as 2018, South Korea’s electric vehicle sales have leaped to fifth place in the world. The measures taken by the governments of many countries in the Asia-Pacific region to promote the use of electric vehicles are expected to further promote the expansion of the silicon carbide market.

In addition, the continuous development of the steel industry in countries such as India and China has also promoted the continuous increase in the demand for silicon carbide in the market. Because silicon carbide is often used as a deoxidizer in the steel industry, and it is also the main raw material for refractory production.

China contributes to the main export share of the global silicon carbide market

China is the largest consumer of silicon carbide, and its annual consumption is close to one-half of the world. China is also a major exporter of silicon carbide products. In recent years, domestic high-quality alloy suppliers have entered the international market, and the export volume of silicon carbide has shown a trend far greater than the import volume.

According to statistics, as of April 2021, China’s silicon carbide imports were 0.05 million tons, a year-on-year decrease of 45.24%, and exports reached 103,400 tons, a year-on-year increase of 10.19%.

Statistics of import and export volume of silicon carbide
Statistics of import and export volume of silicon carbide from 2015 to April 2021

In terms of import value, according to statistics, as of April 2021, China’s domestic silicon carbide import value was USD 0.3 million, a year-on-year increase of 26.89%, and the export value was USD 89 million, a year-on-year increase of 7.11%.

Statistics of import and export amount of silicon carbide from 2015 to April 2021
Statistics of import and export amount of silicon carbide from 2015 to April 2021

China’s main export destinations for silicon carbide in 2020

In 2020, China’s silicon carbide industry exports to 75 countries and regions, of which exports to Japan amounted to USD 78.6603 million, ranking first. The second is South Korea, which has an export value of USD 35.9565 million in 2020. The United States ranks third, with an export value of USD 29.4705 million in 2020.

China's Top10 silicon carbide export destinations
China’s Top10 silicon carbide export destinations

2021 silicon carbide market expected demand growth point

The global silicon carbide market will be worth USD2.52 billion in 2020, and it is expected that the compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2027 will be close to 16.1%. The production gap from various fields will become a new growth point for silicon carbide demand.

1. Demand growth points brought by the steel industry

From 2017 to 2018, global crude steel production increased by 4.5%. In the United States, due to the strong steel demand driven by the construction industry, the demand for the whole year of 2018 accounted for about 46% of the world’s total. Therefore, the increase in steel production will promote the demand for refractories, which in turn is expected to promote the demand growth of the SiC market in the near future.

2. The power electronics sector will strongly drive the growth of silicon carbide demand

In 2020, the production capacity growth from the electronic power field will directly dominate the silicon carbide industry, and it is expected that this trend will continue during the new round of forecast period. This advantage is due to the ability of silicon carbide to reduce energy loss, increase lifetime and power device efficiency.

The power electronics sector will strongly drive the growth of silicon carbide demand
Application of silicon carbide in electronic chips

In addition, it can also meet the various needs of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers and customers, such as charging time, performance, and cruising range, and ensure that power electronic equipment operates efficiently and effectively at higher temperatures.

2020-2021 Silicon Carbide Price Trend Analysis

Overview of silicon carbide price trends

Looking back on 2020, the overall price of silicon carbide showed a trend of the first decline and then increase. Buying one ton of silicon carbide costs the maximum difference between the high and low positions of up to USD 256 per ton. Take the NO.98 silicon carbide as an example, the last year’s tie price was USD 880 per ton, a decrease of USD 182 per ton from last year, which is equivalent to a decrease of USD 0.182 silicon carbide price per kg, a decrease of 17.13%.

Price of silicon carbide in 2019-2020
Price of silicon carbide in 2019-2020

What are the main factors affecting the price of silicon carbide?

1. Raw material costs

In terms of raw materials, the supply capacity of coal and petroleum coke, the main raw materials for silicon carbide, will directly affect the price of silicon carbide. If the raw material supply capacity is relatively stable, the price of silicon carbide will tend to rise but not fall from the perspective of consolidation.

2. Impact of COVID-19

The outbreak of the new crown epidemic has caused a devastating blow to the global economy. Due to the spread of the epidemic, many people have to work from home, many manufacturing industries have shut down, and the demand for silicon carbide has dropped sharply, causing the price of silicon carbide to drop to the bottom. However, as the epidemic has eased, the economic recovery has led to the recovery of the entire manufacturing industry, and the price of silicon carbide has returned to a high level.

3. Guarantee from downstream demand

Throughout 2020, the global crude steel output and pig iron output are both in a growth state, and the expected steel growth in 2021 is still 1%. Coupled with the exponential increase in demand for SiC products from the automotive, electrical, and electronic fields, the price of silicon carbide will continue to rise.

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