LONDON, Jan. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --
In the first edition of this annual Insight, CRU takes a step back and reviews the key changes and developments in the optical fibre and cable industry in 2018, highlighting the lows and highs, alongside key moments and advances in technology. Furthermore, we shine a spotlight on the key market moving topics and upcoming research areas CRU's Wire and Cable Team will be focussing on in 2019.
Global growth stifled by China in 2018
2018 was a rocky year for the optical fibre and cable industry, one marked with numerous highs; such as surpassing the one billion level for fixed broadband subscribers, but also a year of lows; namely the first time in 16 years the Chinese market has contracted. Indeed, this downturn in China acted as a drag on global optical cable demand, which following a four-year period of double digit growth, slummed to just 4% y/y in 2018. Let's take a look at some of the driving forces behind this slump and other key moments in the industry last year.
Selected highlights from the 2018 optical fibre and cable industry
- World optical cable market growth decelerated, rising only 4% in 2018. This is the lowest year-on-year growth rate since 2003. The slowdown was due to a flat year in China's market.
- The world's preform capacity increased last year, namely as a number of producers in China expanded operations. This increase, combined with the flat market, caused the two-year fibre shortage to end by mid-2018.
- The world's largest optical cable customer, China Mobile (CM), ordered less than the amount indicated in its tender for H1 2018 and never issued a tender for H2. This shortfall was the main reason for no growth in China's 2018 demand.
- US tariffs on cable and assemblies made in China had little effect on the amounts exported from China to US, according to trade statistics as reported in US dollars.
- Prysmian closed its acquisition of General Cable at mid-year. With its Q3 results presentation in November, Prysmian said the merger is proceeding as planned and achieving the synergies it expected.
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