Styrene butadiene rubber Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS offers trusted and reliable market intelligence for those buying or selling Styrene butadiene rubber or related products in the global Styrene butadiene rubber market.
Our reporters across Asia, Europe and the US keep in touch with local markets, bringing you price assessments, in-depth news and analysis which you can rely on to guide you in your commercial decisions.
Styrene butadiene rubber Overview Transcript
Styrene butadiene rubber or SBR in short is a synthetic rubber; it is used in the production of tyres in the automotive sector, as well as in the footwear industry. It is traded widely in Asia. The major producers are in Northeast Asia, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan.
It is a spot product that is traded by traders as well as by distributors, consumers and producers.
Its prices are driven primarily by supply and demand. If there is more demand than supply, then obviously prices will rise.
In Asia the SBR prices are to a large extent determined by the natural rubber prices. This is because both natural rubber and SBR are substitutes used in the production of tyres, Which ever goes up or comes down will impact each other.
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Styrene butadiene rubber: Market overview
The main drivers of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) prices are the cost of feedstocks butadiene (BD) and styrene monomer (SM) plus downstream tyre demand.
There is contract and spot trading in Europe. Demand from the automotive industry has been weak and replacement tyre sales have fallen significantly because of declining consumer confidence in Europe. Tyre demand in Europe is led by the replacement tyre market, and strongly correlates to macroeconomic trends.
In 2012, tyre sales dropped drastically because of declining new car registrations and also because people are driving less as a result of high fuel prices, which means they need fewer tyres replaced. This trend will continue during 2013.
China is the largest automotive market in the world and India has strong growth potential. Asian automotive consumption is being fuelled by GDP growth and upward social mobility in China and India, although growth rates in India have been somewhat disappointing because of high fuel costs and high interest rates, as well as a lack of consumer confidence weighing down demand on vehicle sales. Demand for SBR is expected to grow in Asia.
Demand for SBR in the US has rapidly slowed to a crawl, with producers producing just enough to handle contractual obligations and leaving little for the spot market, as prices are low and margins appear low as well.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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About Styrene butadiene rubber
Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is similar to natural rubber in its resistance to mild solvents and chemicals and, like natural rubber, can be successfully bonded to many materials. No acute health hazards are known or expected for SBR.
Styrene butadiene rubber is the largest volume synthetic rubber. With over 70% of SBR being consumed in the manufacture of tyres and tyre products, demand is very much dependent on this sector.
There are two major types of styrene butadiene rubber – emulsion SBR and solution SBR. There is a trend towards the increasing use of solution SBR as it is able to meet the increasingly stringent specifications in the manufacture of high performance tyres.
SBR is produced by the copolymerisation of butadiene with styrene in the approximate proportion of 3:1 by weight.
Emulsion SBR is produced using a continuous process while solution SBR can be produced on both continuous and batch processes.