For the Quarter Ending June 2021
During Q2 2021, Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) supplies in the North American region significantly improved compared to the previous quarter owing to the surged production rates in the rubber manufacturing facilities as producers ramped up run rates to cope with the spike in industrial demand. However, several Butadiene producers in the US Gulf region struggled to operate at normal efficiency sending sharp gains to the NBR price curve in May-June period. NBR latex demand was bolstered from the Nitrile glove manufacturers while offtakes from the tire industries surged to cope up with the rise in demand from the automotive sector. Despite dull production of automobile due to the severe shortages of semiconductor chipsets, spot buyers observed procuring large orders ahead of the upcoming Hurricane season. As a ripple effect NBR pricing trend in the North American region stabilized after witnessing tremendous growth since the start of 2021. FOB Ohio discussions were assessed at USD 3070 per tonne in June.
During the second quarter, the supplies of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) remained overall balanced as production rates at manufacturing plants were ample to meet the surging end use demand. Some constraints were witnessed in China amid the May Day holidays. Feedstock Butadiene prices surged amidst rising inflation rate in the Chinese domestic market. Demand was consistent from the downstream medical gloves and tire industries, backed by strong overseas enquiries from the North American region. Hampered by the impact of COVID-related restrictions in India, NBR offtakes were affected proportionally during Q2, and Ex-Works Mumbai NBR offers slipped to USD 3430 per tonne in June.
The European Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) market was stable owing to the better operating rates at several manufacturing facilities however export of volumes to the US put significant pressure in the regional market supply. Demand surged as most US buyers preferred the European shipments over Northeast Asian cargoes due to lower freight charges and high import duties by the US government on the Chinese origin materials. NBR offtakes surged from the downstream tire industries to meet growing demand from the recovering automotive sector. NBR priced in the European market remained firm buoyed by the limited feedstock availability and high demand.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
The supplies in the US were snug during the first quarter of 2021, owning to the impacts from the unprecedented freeze fallout in Texas and nearby gulf region in the US. Furthermore, it is anticipated that market remained stressed till next quarter. Feedstock Butadiene availability was limited with TPC Houston and Shell Deer Park not restarted till the final week of March, which represented nearly 30% of the US BD capacity. Feedstock unavailability prompted several NBR producers in the US to operate at curtailed rates and raise their monthly offers in March.
The supplies of NBR in the Asia Pacific region remained balanced during Q1 2021, as an outcome of unplanned shutdowns of major plants in China amid Chinese Lunar New Year, however contemplated by the addition of new facilities in China. With the overall construction and automotive sector restoring with economic upturn, backed by higher crude oil price stimulated the Chinese NBR market to register sharp rises. While the prices could not trace back to pre-pandemic levels, Ex-Works Nanjing prices of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber in China were assessed around USD 2300/ton in February.
During the first quarter of 2021, the supplies of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber remained constrained as major economies in the region such as Germany, France etc. declared lockdown due to re-emergence of another wave of infections, followed by reduced imports of the feedstock supplies from the US. The demand slightly improved as the automotive sector slowly recovered and sales improved from the previous quarter.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Price of NBR surged across the region because of the soaring feedstock Butadiene and also due to improved demand from the agricultural sector. By the end of September, prices were on a continuous uptrend and were assessed around USD 2200 per MT CFR India. With the initiation of antidumping investigation on NBR import from China, EU, Japan and Russia, Indian NBR producers turned optimistic over curtailed cheap imports. Higher feedstock prices and stable market demand lead to higher price realizations even in China although demand from the automotive sector stood in the doldrums.
The third quarter Nitrile Butadiene Rubber prices remained high due to tight supply with better buying appetite from domestic as well as Asian buyers. Further increase was seen in the contract prices because of the increased upstream values. Maintenance shutdowns, unplanned issues kept the NBR supply snug throughout the quarter. Revived demand from Asia was starting to again support trader sentiments. Closure of Lanxess AG’s NBR unit in Q2, supported the high pricing of the product during the third quarter.