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 2018
Supply is expected to be mixed in the fourth quarter of the year. A major SBR plant in South Korea will shut in October for maintenance, but other SBR plants in Asia may ramp up their operating rates in the fourth quarter due to the availability of cheaper feedstock butadiene. Deep-sea supplies from Europe may also head to Asia towards the end of the year.
Demand is expected to strengthen in India and southeast (SE) Asia in October on restocking activities ahead of the year-end festive period. However, demand may slow in China during this period as vehicle sales and production have fallen due to an uncertain market outlook amid the ongoing US-China trade war.
European SBR supply is expected to be good moving forward into the last quarter of the year. Asia as a key export market has been a less attractive destination to send product as the market has been continual weighed down by the natural rubber prices.
Short-term, the domestic market is slightly sceptical. The export market is unclear due to the lacklustre demand in Asia. Longer-term, overall growth in the European passenger car (PC) tyre market is forecast to grow by around 2% in the next three years, which is expected to support SBR demand.
US SBR supply in the fourth quarter may improve as low demand and low costs in Asia should continue to keep imports available, but trade tensions may cause some headwinds. Domestic production may continue to be hampered by high costs, but feedstock availability is expected to be adequate.
US SBR demand is expected to increase as tyre production emerges from its summer slowdown, although this will be partly offset by a winter slowdown for demand into the construction sector. Demand into the nylon sector is expected to remain strong.
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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.