Butyl Rubber Prices Dive in US Amid Oil Price Slump and European Auto Industry Woes
Butyl Rubber Prices Dive in US Amid Oil Price Slump and European Auto Industry Woes

Butyl Rubber Prices Dive in US Amid Oil Price Slump and European Auto Industry Woes

  • 04-Dec-2023 3:52 PM
  • Journalist: Patricia Jose Perez

Texas, USA: November witnessed a significant downturn in the price of Butyl Rubber within the US market, spurred by a confluence of factors affecting both the global oil industry and the European automotive sector. The slump in Butyl Rubber prices can be primarily attributed to two critical elements: the consistent decline in crude oil prices and a notable reduction in demand from the European automotive industry.

Crude oil, a pivotal component in the production of Butyl Rubber, experienced a downward price spiral throughout November. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures plummeted by 6.2%. This decline was instigated by the agreement among key oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and others within OPEC+ to implement voluntary output cuts approaching 2 million barrels per day for the first quarter of 2024. The subsequent reduction in the production cost of Butyl Rubber because of lower crude oil prices inevitably led to a significant devaluation of the product in the market.

Simultaneously, the European automotive sector encountered substantial challenges, notably stemming from a slowdown in Electric Vehicle (EV) sales, impacting the US Butyl Rubber market. Despite a seemingly resilient overall auto sales performance, major players like Volkswagen and Mercedes faced intensified pressure due to weakened profits. The European Automotive Manufacturers Association reported a superficially robust performance in October 2023, with a 14.6% increase in EU car sales. However, closer examination revealed that Germany, the largest market, only experienced a 4.9% rise compared to the previous year, indicating underlying weaknesses. Consequently, the diminished import demand for Butyl Rubber from the European automotive industry had a cascading effect, causing its value to plummet in the US market.

Furthermore, despite efforts to rectify supply chain disruptions and introduce new car models, the resultant price reduction is anticipated to erode industry profit margins soon. Western Europe, encompassing vital markets like Germany, France, Britain, Italy, and Spain, faces additional challenges posed by inflation and high financing costs, intensifying the strain on the automotive industry's profitability and consequently impacting the Butyl Rubber market.

Looking ahead, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) forecasts a modest rebound in US chemical volumes in 2024, attributing this projection to low inventories and the completion of destocking across most value chains. However, for key chemical end-markets, US light vehicle sales are anticipated to remain stagnant in 2024, while housing starts are projected to decline by approximately 3%. As the two major downstream industries for Butyl Rubber, fluctuation in these industries might significantly impact the Butyl Rubber market. The global economy's anticipated slowdown, with expected GDP growth of 2.3% in 2024 compared to an estimated 2.7% in 2023, is also poised to influence the Butyl Rubber market accordingly.

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