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 Q4 2019
There was abundant supply of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) in Asia in the fourth quarter of 2020. Supply from India as well as deep-sea supply from Europe, Russia and Iran added to the length in Asia. China-origin SBR was also heard available as Chinese SBR makers tapped on export opportunities in southeast Asia. Several major Chinese tyre manufacturers had set up off-shore production facilities in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia amid the tensions in the US-China trade war.
Demand for SBR continued to remain weak in the fourth quarter of 2020 because of declining vehicle sales and production in China, the world’s largest auto market. Slowing economic growth in Asia and the slump in the automotive market in India also weighed on demand. An uncertain market outlook amid the protracted US-China trade war continued to curtail spot appetite as traders and the downstream tyre makers kept lean inventories and purchased on a need-to-basis.
European styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) supply remained ample and demand failed to recover significantly in 2019. European exports to Asia have decreased significantly this year, resulting in an oversupplied domestic market. Hopes of any improvement dissipated during the year as political and economic uncertainty continued. Due to the high availability of product and dampened demand, dry grade prices reached multi-year lows in 2019.
Dampened sentiment has made it difficult for buyers to predict volume requirements in 2020. Automotive demand has been continuously weak this year. The prolonged US-China trade war has adversely impacted demand in 2019, especially in Asia. Until the trade issues are resolved, market sources do not see a recovery in SBR demand on a global scale. Year-end destocking often sees a drop off in demand as the market approaches Christmas and market players reduce inventories.
US supply outpaced demand during the fourth quarter, with demand typically seasonally lower during the period. However, a globally sluggish automotive sector weighed on styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) markets throughout 2019, exacerbating oversupply worldwide. Production outages – at Goodyear stemming from tropical depression Imelda and at Lion Elastomers stemming from the outage at nearby butadiene feedstock provider TPC Group – did not create a shortage of material.
US demand continued to be sluggish during the fourth quarter, amplified by a typical seasonal lull during the period. Continuing a year-long trend underscored by underperforming automotive sectors, US SBR markets were steady but not strong. Global oversupply continued to weigh on spot prices. The outage at butadiene producer TPC Group’s Port Neches site had no impact in downstream SBR markets during the quarter.
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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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