Styrene butadiene rubber Prices, markets & analysis
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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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European styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) demand has been flat with slim margins of improvement seen in tyre replacement sales, while SBR demand in non-tyre applications remains stable.
Primary feedstock butadiene (BD) has firmed gradually since January. BD prices rose due to feedstock costs, shortened supply from turnarounds and force majeure at certain plants. In Asia, BD costs were stable throughout much of the first quarter before prices tumbled in March due to oversupply and weak demand, which in turn, drove SBR prices down.
Along with flat demand, global natural rubber prices dropped considerably, proving an attractive alternative for Asian tyre manufacturers which contributed to oversupply in the Asian market.
European spot activity has been illiquid with tyre manufacturers purchasing material on a hand-to-mouth basis while SBR producers have faced gradual feedstock cost rises with weak customer demand. Furthermore, attractive Asian SBR spot prices have tempted buyers, leaving producers having to compete in order to secure volumes in other regions now Asia is currently a net exporter of SBR.
European passenger vehicle registrations have risen on a monthly basis since September last year. Despite this encouraging sign of recovery in the automobile industry, tyre manufacturers outline the importance of tyre replacement sales which constitute roughly 80% of the tyre market. In Europe, summer tyres are expected to replace winter tyres in April.
Updated to Q1 2014
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