HOUSTON (ICIS)--US styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) spot prices were assessed on Thursday at 12-14% lower than those from a month ago, weighed down by lower prices for imports.
ICIS-assessed prices for non-oil grade 1502 SBR were 95-108 cents/lb ($2,094-2,381/tonne), compared with 114-121 cents/lb in May.
Oil-extended grade 1712 SBR were assessed at 89-102 cents/lb, compared to 106-112 last month.
The US market had seen an influx of imports in the recent months, particularly from Asia, which faces oversupply, weak demand and competitive prices for natural rubber (NR), a substitute for synthetic rubber in the production of tyres.
Imports for 1502 SBR from Asia and Europe were heard as low as 90 cents/lb DEL (delivered), forcing domestic producers to lower their offerings.
With costs for raw materials and production much higher than that, market sources said that US producers would have to operate at negative margins in order to be competitive.
One producer said that it was still selling spot material at about 115 cents/lb, as well as higher, adding that it had no plans to sell at the low levels that some players claimed were market prices.
While another producer confirmed that most of spot material was currently being traded in the 95-108 cents/lb range, it noted that the imports from Asia and Europe account for only a small percentage of the overall US SBR market, which is a heavily contracted business.
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