For the Quarter Ending March 2022
The polybutadiene rubber market has been termed as firm in the North American region owing to strong cost pressure from upstream feedstocks and stable demand from downstream industries. Feedstock Butadiene remained in robust demand throughout the quarter due to the versatility of Butadiene in its application in several key polymers and elastomers. Furthermore, climbing crude oil and natural gas prices further put inflationary pressure on downstream Butadiene. Hence, Butadiene prices rose consistently throughout the quarter resulting in cost pressure over downstream PBR. On demand side, consumption from the tire industry remained stable as demand for replacement tires grew in the USA. Thus, as of March 2022, PBR prices were assessed at USD 2840 per MT on FOB basis.
The Polybutadiene rubber market has been termed as strong on the back of strong demand fundamentals and robust cost pressure. Polybutadiene rubber prices have gained 2.5% in February and were assessed at INR 176660 per MT (USD 2303.05 per MT) Ex-Mumbai on the 1st week of March 2022. Feedstock Butadiene production has been firm as no reports of any production lags were reported by any manufacturers. Butadiene prices have also been firm in the market, maintaining healthy cost pressure on downstream Polybutadiene rubber. On the demand side, Polybutadiene rubber finds its major use in tire industry continues to put impressive production. Hence, procurement of elastomers has been firm. Imports of PBR from South Korea and other countries have also been costly, keeping the pricing dynamics strong in the domestic market. In China, the Polybutadiene market seesawed where prices rose initially in January while pricing sentiment deteriorated in February as demand declined however, prices rebounded in March in the backdrop of rising costs of Butadiene and stability in demand from downstream industries. As of March, PBR prices were assessed at USD 2215 per MT on FOB basis.
During Q1 of 2022, the European Polybutadiene Rubber market observed a strong bullish rally owing to the limited supply of the material in the domestic market. Russia has been a crucial exporter of Polybutadiene Rubber in the European market; however Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the market dynamics as European nations looked for alternatives. Asian PBR exporters faced inflationary pressure as transit fees on Suez Canal increased significantly, increasing the overall cost of the material reaching European shores. In the domestic markets of Europe, PBR prices rose substantially owing to limited availability and the climbing cost of feedstock Butadiene. Based on the aforementioned factors, PBR prices were assessed at USD 2945 per MT on FD basis in March 2022.
For the Quarter Ending December 2021
Several market participants reported that demand from Tire industry and footwear industry remained healthy throughout the last quarter which ended 2021 on a robust note in terms of production and revenue. This has increased the consumption of Polybutadiene rubber in last few months. Meanwhile supply fundamentals improved after struggling Q3 where truck availability was termed as severely limited across the North American region. Feedstock butadiene prices eased in the last quarter after displaying chaotic numbers in Q3. PBR prices have vindicated the above demand pattern where prices continuously increased throughout Q4. PBR prices were assessed in early October at USD 2550 per MT while priced ended the last quarter at USD 2760 per MT in December.
Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR) prices remained firm in the last quarter on the back of robust demand from the Indian domestic market under festive season optimism. Synthetic rubber market showcased improvement in imports as well as in consumption during Q4. Thus, PBR price rose during last three months and settled around INR 197250/MT Ex-Mumbai. In China, Polybutadiene prices remained on a declining trend throughout Q4 in China as cost pressure from feedstock butadiene dropped due to deteriorating coal and crude prices in the last quarter. Demand from tire industry was also termed as soft by several market participants due to sluggish offtakes from automotive industry. Price of PBR fell from USD 2326 per MT in October to USD 2210 per MT on FOB basis in December.
Robust demand from downstream tire industry and footwear industry along with consistently risen feedstock prices have culminated into a strong quarter for Polybutadiene rubber market in Europe. PBR market gained from increased consumption and Ex-work price rose from USD 2630 per MT in October to USD 2890 per MT in December. Butadiene market remained on an incessant uptrend which pressured manufacturers to keep the PBR prices healthy throughout Q4. PBR Imports from Far East Asia remained limited on the European shores as high freight charges provided restricted opportunity for Asian exports to be competitive and sustainable across European countries.
For the Quarter Ending September 2021
During the third quarter of 2021, there was a hike in the prices of upstream Butadiene across the North American region which had a huge impact on the pricing of Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR). Demand for PBR remained stable to stagnant throughout the quarter from the downstream automotive industry as market improved in terms of production. However consumption trends remained yet to materialize due to the shortage of semiconductor chips in the 3rd quarter as well.
In Q3 2021, the prices of PBR witnessed a steep rise in the Asia Pacific region. Discussions of Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR) in the domestic market continued to stay firm in Q3 buoyed by consistent increment in demand for tires in the past 2 months. In China, the demand was sturdy from the downstream tire sector, and better offtakes were reported with the rebound in construction activities. As majority of elastomers are largely imported in India, tire manufacturers urged the government to reduce import duties on rubber prices due to the high shipping charges causing acute shortage of the product in the country. CFR JNPT (India) pricing of PBR escalated from USD 1744/MT to USD 2218/MT during the third quarter.
In the European region, the overall market of Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR) witnessed an upward trajectory in the third quarter of 2021. There was an increment in the demand for PBR across the region due to the shipment of huge cargoes to the US as it has lesser freight charges and high import duties over the Chinese counterparts. Offtakes surged from the downstream construction and automotive sectors despite heavily curtailed production in Germany. Demand outlook remained uncertain as disruption in production caused by the global chip shortage continued even in third quarter.
For the Quarter Ending June 2021
The downstream activity picked up as the industrial Infrastructure in the US Gulf region recovered from the devastating impact of winter storm Uri. Despite some eases on the supply side, the regional Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR) market still witnessed short availability of monomer Butadiene, which further hindered the production. Several BD producers in the US Gulf region were struggling to operate at normal rates with offered prices as high as 70% quarter-on-quarter. PBR demand was exceptionally high from the downstream tire industries as the sentiment to replenish the inventories were strong among the buyers. Price of Polybutadiene Rubber observed an uptrend since the start of the second quarter with FOB Texas discussion settling at USD 1788 per tonne in June.
During the second quarter of 2021, the supplies of Polybutadiene Rubber remained balanced as operating rates at several manufacturing plants picked up to meet the downstream end use demand, but some constraints were witnessed amid the May Day holidays in China. Surge in consumption of natural rubber was seen negatively impacting the Polybutadiene Rubber market in China. Demand was consistent from the downstream tire sector, and better offtakes were reported with the rebound in the construction activities. The pricing trend of PBR stabilized early in the second quarter when FOB Qingdao settlements were assessed at USD 2000 per tonne in April. The uptrend was supported by low inventory levels of the feedstock Butadiene in South Korea. However, some expressed hopes that feedstock supplies were anticipated to improve in near term as the several Chinese Butadiene capacity expansions are lined up in the second half of 2021.
During Q2 2021, Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR) supplies improved due to the increased operating rates at several manufacturing facilities however high export demand from the US put significant pressure on the European Polybutadiene Rubber market. Demand surged as most USA buyers preferred the European shipments over Northeast Asian cargoes due to lesser freight charges and high import duties over the Chinese origin materials. PBR Offtakes surged from the downstream construction and automotive sectors. The pricing trend in the European market was buoyed by the tight supply and high demand.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
During the first quarter, synthetic rubber supplies in the North American region were hit by turnaround at major feedstock manufacturing plants due to extreme freeze weather conditions in the US gulf region that hindered the production levels various producing belts. As major players declared force majeures, around 50% of the elastomer production was hit by the winter storm. However, the demand showed recovery as the consumption improved from the automotive sector. Arlenxeo delivered voluminous consignments of PBR to the Goodyear and Ceat respectively, with FOB prices hovering at USD 1600/ton- USD 1750/ton in March. Whereas the April delivery FOB charges were announced at USD 1640/ton to USD 1720/ton varies according to the grade.
The supplies of Polybutadiene rubber (PBR) in Q1 2021 improved as compared to previous quarter, with the addition of new facilities is China, confirmed with the required availability of monomer Butadiene. Moreover, several plants in the northeast Asia ended their scheduled turnarounds in the first half of Q1. However, the demand remained balanced due to recovering automotive sector, but the resurgence of COVID in some economies towards the end of the quarter kept the market cautious in the southwest region. India imported significant quantities of PBR from the US taking quarterly average of PBR in India to USD 1133/tonne in February.
PBR supplies were tight due to reduced import from the US, amid severe weather conditions, followed by limited availability of the feedstock Butadiene as larger volumes were exported towards the Asian region. However, the demand remained balanced from the improved offtakes from the recovering automotive sector. With a larger portion of the Butadiene getting diverted towards the production of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) in the European region, PBR supplies remained constrained for a larger part of the quarter.
For the Quarter Ending December 2020
Price of Polybutadiene Rubber (PBR) in the Asian market surged amid tight feedstock supplies in H1 of Q4, meanwhile later in the quarter, upstream supplies were heard easing to an optimum level. An unexpected shutdown at China’s Sinopec Zhongke’s new 120 KTPA Butadiene unit created hindrance in the raw material availability. In the first half of the quarter, PBR prices spiked in response to firming raw materials and tight supply situation. With producers directing their supplies largely in the automotive sector, Chinese PBR producers reported renewed pressure over the production margins following the price spike. India’s RIL revealed its investment plan of setting up a PBR Plant at Panipat Naphtha Cracker Complex, that will be completed in 2022. Tracing the upsurge in price of the feedstock and favorable demand prospects, price of PBR maintained an average of USD 1211/ton and USD 1160/ton in the Indian markets.
Abrupt spike in the feedstock rates in the Asian and North American regions, boosted the PBR export opportunities by the European countries. Meanwhile the feedstock (Butadiene) supply remained below average during Q4. Traders reported that high seasonal demand for Ethylene and Propylene during the quarter limited the crude C-4 feedstock availability. PBR spot prices in the European market surged as strong competition among traders and increased demand for the exports amid supply restrictions spiked the product cost of Asian and North American regions.
In the first half of Q4, BASF Total restarted its US Port Arthur, Texas associated Butadiene (BD) unit after an unplanned turnaround in June. Increased demand from the PBR sector and increasing production rates were the key factors responsible for the increment in BD sales volume during Q4. Abrupt surge in the feedstock significantly affected the production margins of the regional PBR producers. While demand outlook turned favorable due to recovery from the hurricane related disruptions, resurgence in offtakes by the tire producers kept the prices afloat.