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 2019
There was ample supply of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) in Asia in the second quarter of 2019. Most regional SBR makers had surplus inventories due to the prevailing weak market sentiment amid an escalating US-China trade war. Declining vehicle sales and production in China, the world’s largest car market, further dampened market sentiment. The availability of deep-sea product from the Middle East and Europe also added to the supply length in Asia.
Q2 demand remained weak because of declining vehicle sales and production in China. The slump in the automotive market in India also weighed on demand. Demand was also curtailed by the deepening tensions between China and the US.
European styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) supply was ample during Q2, despite various upstream cracker turnarounds. This was largely due to the continually challenging demand conditions that have reduced the impact of lower upstream availability. Reduced export opportunities and the closed arbitrage to Asia led to increased domestic supply. Prices in the spot market have been under pressure for most of the quarter, due to competitive offers in the market.
European SBR demand was below expectations as export opportunities to Asia did not improve as players expected due to the continuation of the US-China trade war. Suppliers have struggled to recover margins due to the poor demand conditions. Challenging conditions in the automotive and tyre industries remains a key concern, and global macroeconomic uncertainties continue.
US supplies of styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) 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 toward high-performance tyres.
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 dampened 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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How can we best navigate the volatile butadiene industry despite forecasting difficulties, price unpredictability and numerous other factors when caution seems to be dominating theme for 2019?
With a significant slowdown in Asia caused mainly by tensions between China and the US, as well as overall drop in SBR and ABS demand, what will this mean for the European market going forward along with its position within the global market?
Join us at the 8th ICIS European Butadiene & Derivatives Conference (11 – 12 September, Vienna, Austria) to ensure that you get the most relevant information, including regional updates, a new focus on rubber recycling as well as supply and demand trends from industry leaders plus ample networking time during this turbulent time.