Price and market trends: Europe SBR market quiet, players eye export opportunities

24 July 2014 11:23 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

SBR quiet, players eye export opportunities

European styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) sellers are eyeing the export potential to Asia given increased regional pricing because of local upstream butadiene (BD) price hikes and a subsequent curtailment of rates at SBR producing units, market sources said 16 July.

“They [Asian SBR producers] are not in a position to pay for increased BD as their end price is not moving,” a producer said. The producer added the reason Asian SBR producers were unable to raise prices to recover costs was because of overcapacity in SBR and the competition with natural rubber.

“They are tending to shut units so in principle there is more opportunity for Europe,” the producer added.



Opinions differed as to whether an export to Asia actually worked from a pricing point of view.

“Pricewise it is not there yet,” a source said.

“Asian prices are still below $2,000/tonne, [regarding exports] I guess not yet, but hopefully soon,” a trader said.

While some Asian producers are heard offering at a minimum of $2,000/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NWE (northwest Europe) southeast Asia, there have been reports European origin SBR has been on offer in Asia at $1,950/tonne delivered but the evidence is so far limited.

The European market itself is quiet. “There is not enough momentum in any direction,” a consumer said, “there is not enough to push [prices] either way.”

Demand has weakened in some cases and remains on a hand-to-mouth but stable basis in others. Several sources noted some downwards price pressure particularly in southern Europe with prices heard on a couple of occasions down to €1,430-1,450/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

By Nel Weddle