The ICIS styrene butadiene rubber report (SBR) is published in Asia, China, Europe and the US. Our network of locally-based reporters gather market intelligence to published independent price assessments for 1502 non-oil grade and 1712 oil-extended grade in Asia, China and the US, while Europe’s grades are 1500, 1723 and 1783. There are contract and spot prices, depending on region.
News and analysis gives you trustworthy information to use while making those vital commercial choices. Commentary can include economic news, spot business, regional updates, feedstock developments as well as demand and supply trends.
Updated to Q2 2021
Supply was tightened by some turnarounds in the region during the quarter, although some gaps were plugged by the emergence of increased China export availabilities. The latter came about as SBR production within China recovered towards the end of the quarter, at a time when domestic demand started to falter on a seasonal lull.
Regional demand fell in the quarter, contrary to earlier anticipation, after a second wave of COVID-19 infections emerged. This forced several key regional outlets, from India to Malaysia, into prolonged country-wide lockdowns, weighing down operations in key downstream sectors such as the automobile industry.
Supply in the spot market was limited in Q2, which led to upward pressure on pricing. Production constraints in eastern Europe added to the limited availability. The market was dealing with mounting production costs, especially from upstream BD.
Demand remained healthy from the tyre sector, following a recovery in Q1. Replacement tyre sales reflected positive growth in Q1, according to the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association. Truck tyre re-treading was described as quiet in April compared with March, according to an SBR consumer.
Supply levels were constrained by a lack of feedstock BD. Output recovered from the polar storm, but producers were forced to temper their rates without sufficient BD. Goodyear was constrained by insufficient steam supplies from nearby BD producer TPC Group. Allocations were in place from US suppliers.
Demand was stronger than SBR producers could satisfy as tyre producers were operating on a need-to basis because of lean raw material supplies. Tyre manufacturers saw robust demand, particularly from the replacement sector, and this offset any decline from the OEM sector because of chip shortages. Other SBR demand also strengthened amid a wider macroeconomic recovery.
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Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is the most widely used synthetic rubber. Emulsion SBR contains 23.5% styrene and 76.5% butadiene.
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.