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.
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Updated to Q3 2019
There was ample supply of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) in Asia in the third quarter of 2019. Most regional makers had surplus inventories due to the slump in the automotive industry. Declining auto sales and production in China and India amid a protracted US-China trade war had bloated the inventories of SBR makers. The availability of deep-sea product from the Middle East, Russia and Europe also added to the supply length in Asia.
Demand remained weak in the third quarter because of falling vehicle sales and production in China, the world’s largest car market. Slowing economic growth in Asia and the slump in the automotive market in India also weighed on demand. Weak market sentiment amid a protracted US-China trade war continued to curb spot interest.
The European styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) market remained well supplied with upstream butadiene (BD) planned and unplanned production issues failing to impact the market significantly in the third quarter. SBR production levels were reduced in some cases for summer shutdowns during August. Supply remained sufficient to cover lower consumer requirements.
SBR demand in Europe was lacklustre for the majority of the quarter and placed downward pressure on prices. August is typically a low-demand period as players step away from the market during the summer holidays.Tyre and automotive demand disappointed some SBR sellers and was identified as a key issue. Low spot offers failed to entice much buying activity during the third quarter. September demand was slightly better compared to the very quiet summer.
US supplies of styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) were said to be plentiful during the third quarter of 2019 and continue to outstrip sluggish demand amid slow market activity, as has been the trend for several years. Overcapacity continues, especially given an influx of imports from foreign producers, causing further increases in US SBR supplies. The growing trend toward S-SBR compounds capacity issues as E-SBR grows out of favour with a push towards high-performance tyres.
Demand was not strong enough to meet supply levels during the third quarter. Tyre demand remains slow and despite lower costs for rubber producers in the US with falling feedstock butadiene (BD) prices, poor demand has offset that. A slowing automotive sector and overall economic uncertainty in China has weakened buying appetite and is weighing on global markets. The US SBR market continued to track the rise and fall in feedstock BD and styrene prices.
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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.
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