Surprising Downward Spiral: Butyl Rubber Prices Hit by Complex Market Dynamics in the US
- 08-Aug-2023 2:23 PM
- Journalist: Jacob Kutchner
Texas, USA: The US market has been hit by a surprising downward spiral in Butyl Rubber prices as a combination of factors, including the underperformance of the tire industry, stabilized manufacturing sector, declining feedstock costs, and excess inventories have converged to create a complex market dynamic. The tire industry, a major consumer of Butyl Rubber, has struggled to maintain its market footing, leading to subdued demand for this essential material. Despite an otherwise robust performance of the automotive industry, weak sentiments in the tire sector have cast a shadow on the downstream demand for Butyl Rubber.
In July, sales of new light vehicles in the US surged by over 18% compared to last year. This upward trend has continued throughout the year, with an overall increase of more than 13% year-to-date. Car manufacturers are optimistic about sustained consumer demand, driven by pent-up buying urges accumulated over the past two years. Data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals that July's sales remained steady, slightly higher than the previous month. However, the Butyl Rubber market remained unaffected by the surge in auto sales.
The US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) has revised its outlook for 2023, indicating that the total volume of tire shipments will amount to 325.4 million units. This marks a decrease from the earlier projection made in March, which had anticipated 334.2 million units. The newly released figure for August suggests that the forecast has experienced a reduction across five of the six categories, encompassing the original equipment and replacement tire sectors. The sole anomaly in this trend pertains to the business involving Original Equipment (OE) passenger tires, where an upward adjustment was made to the forecast. While the automotive industry has managed to sustain a commendable performance in the market, the drag from the tire industry has significantly impacted the overall demand for Butyl Rubber. Despite the growth trends witnessed by the automotive sector, the subdued sentiments of the tire industry have restrained the potential downstream demand for Butyl Rubber.
Adding to the intricate interplay of market forces, the costs of Butyl Rubber feedstocks, Isobutylene, and Isoprene, have been downward. This decline in raw material costs has translated into downward pressure on Butyl Rubber prices, further impacting the market dynamics. The issue of excess inventories of Butyl Rubber has exacerbated the situation, intensifying competition among suppliers and causing prices to plummet. As suppliers grapple with oversupply, the challenge of maintaining stable prices of Butyl Rubber has become even more pronounced. Amidst these challenging dynamics, the US Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a key indicator of the manufacturing sector's health, brought a glimmer of hope. The PMI for July was reported at 49, a slight improvement from the previous month's reading of 46.3. This increase in the PMI signals a potential stabilization of the manufacturing sector in the US, providing a ray of optimism amidst the otherwise complex market conditions and contributing to preventing price rises in the Butyl Rubber market.