US May SBR up on feedstocks, opens opportunities for imports

16 May 2018 23:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US May contract prices for styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) rose by 4 cents/lb ($88/tonne) on Wednesday, fuelled by upstream butadiene (BD).

The increase puts contracts at 93.5-100.5 cents/lb for 1502 non-oil grade and 98.75-89.75 cents/lb for 1712 oil-extended grade.

For 1502, this represents a 4.3% year on year increase. However, May 2017 contracts fell by 20 cents/lb from record highs, while US SBR remains on an uptrend.

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The upward price pressure is completely from BD, which rose by 5-6 cents/lb on a weighted average basis in May.

US SBR producers said they were largely able to pass along costs to buyers for contract volumes.

Spot volumes, however, are declining, being replaced by lower-priced imports of SBR and natural rubber (NR).

Several buyers said that NR prices from Asia to the US are in the mid-60s cents/lb to low-70s cents/lb.

There is increased interest for SBR replacements, as current demand and consumption levels do not support pricing.

Demand has been steady to slightly stronger year on year, while supply is balanced to long.

Major North American SBR producers include Dynasol, Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Lion Elastomers.

Inside a tyre factory. Styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is a raw material used on the production of tyres for the automotive industry. (Source: WestEnd61/REX/Shutterstock)
By John Dietrich