Longer Transit Times and Rising Freight Costs Impact European SBR Prices
Longer Transit Times and Rising Freight Costs Impact European SBR Prices

Longer Transit Times and Rising Freight Costs Impact European SBR Prices

  • 21-Mar-2024 3:33 PM
  • Journalist: Rene Swann

Wuppertal (Germany): SBR prices in the European region have remained stable despite slight fluctuations since the beginning of 2024. These prices have been notably influenced by longer transit times and higher freight charges in the regional market, as well as the reopening of the Asian market after the festive break. Moreover, the continuous increase in the prices of SBR feedstock, namely styrene and butadiene, in the global market has contributed to higher SBR production costs. Additionally, the demand for SBR from tire manufacturing units has surged, creating opportunities for better demand agreements in both the European and overseas markets. As of the week ending March 15th, SBR prices were recorded at USD 1630 per MT, FD Wuppertal in the German market.

Despite increasing competition in Europe, SBR retailers and suppliers have maintained stable prices. Economic challenges have affected the commodity's sales rate, but key players remain confident in the market's prospects for 2024 despite the subdued economic outlook and competitive landscape. Electric car and tire sales in Europe have experienced a slowdown before achieving widespread acceptance, and attracting SBR buyers will be crucial for the next phase. Without a compelling value proposition, SBR consumers may hesitate to invest.

The European Union is nearing the imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese electric car imports due to evidence suggesting unlawful financial support from Beijing. The European Commission has gathered enough evidence to demonstrate that imports of new electric vehicles with batteries from China have been subsidized, including through direct fund transfers, tax exemptions, or below-market-priced goods or services provided by the government.

Farmers in Belgium recently staged a demonstration around Europe's second-largest port Antwerp and two other Belgian ports to protest what they perceive as excessive environmental regulations. Several tractors caused disruptions during the morning rush hour to and from the harbor facilities. However, they stopped short of a complete blockade after port authorities warned them of legal liability for any losses incurred.

Europe's leading vehicle-handling ports have observed similar trends in activity in 2023, with the continued increase in Chinese vehicle imports extending into 2024. These imports are primarily transported by deep ocean pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs), alongside a growing volume of containerized vehicles arriving in Europe. This trend coincides with disruptions affecting vessels traveling between the Far East and Europe due to attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. According to ChemAnalyst, SBR prices are expected to remain stable towards the end of Q1 2024 as the available stockpile and government sanctions may influence the overall demand outlook for SBR.

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