For the Quarter Ending March 2022
The styrene-Butadiene Rubber market started the quarter on a weak note owing to sluggish demand fundamentals. As of February, SBR prices were assessed at USD 3750 per MT on CFR basis. Port of Los Angeles, a key port for imports, has increased mobility after sustained congestion in January, where 109 vessels were stranded in the port of Long Beach, LA. Exporting countries South Korea, China and others have maintained the material availability on a stronger side despite firm freight charges between Asia and US West Coast. Buying sentiment has been weak owing sluggish rate of production in the downstream automotive industry, which continues to face semiconductor shortages. However, market fundamentals changed drastically in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, which impacted the global supply chains. Freight charges, after stabilizing in early Q1, changed the momentum and again accelerated on several key routes, including Asia to the USA and other increasing prices of the imported material. Hence, Styrene-Butadiene Rubber prices finished the quarter on a strong note and were assessed at USD 3940 per MT on CFR basis.
The European Styrene Butadiene Rubber market remained volatile throughout the first quarter on the back of significant volatility in the petrochemical market stemming from uncertainty regarding crude oil and natural gas prices in Europe. Europe, a key exporter of SBR globally, faced a substantial rise in all key feedstocks and even in later stages of Q1 feedstock Butadiene availability became scarce, pressuring production rates as well as pricing dynamics of all Butadiene polymers and elastomers, including SBR. As of March, SBR prices were assessed at Euro 3420 per MT on FD basis. Other feedstock Styrene also faced inflationary pressure from rising upstream crude oil and LNG costs. Thus, prices of SBR increased persistently during Q1 2022.
In India, the Styrene-Butadiene Rubber market has been termed as stable to firm owing to high feedstock prices and robust demand fundamentals. India imports all its Styrene, and major exporters have been Far East Asian, Southeast Asian and Middle East Asian countries. Hence, prices of Styrene have been on the uptrend as crude volatility left limited space for price normalization for overseas manufacturers. Consequently, SBR prices have also been robust, and a significant climb has been observed in the market. On-demand side, the tire industry remained a healthy end-use industry for SBR as both Original equipment tires and replacement tires consumption continues to be on the stronger side. As of the 1st week of March, SBR prices were assessed at INR 172410 per MT (USD 2260.48 per MT) on an Ex-location basis. In China, after having a sluggish start to 2022, Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) market changed momentum after the lunar new year holidays in China. Styrene-Butadiene Rubber prices have increased in the last couple of weeks owing to a rebound in demand fundamentals in the market.
Styrene Butadiene Rubber prices remained on a declining trend throughout Q4 in China as cost pressure from feedstocks styrene and butadiene dropped due to deteriorating coal and crude prices in the last quarter. Demand from tire industry was also termed as firm by several market participants due to stagnant offtakes for Original Equipment and stable demand from replacement tire segment. Price of SBR fell from USD 2146 per MT in October to USD 1960 per MT on FOB basis. Indian SBR market also mirrored the above market sentiment where declining feedstocks and drop in demand from tire industry stabilizes the prices in Q4 after flourishing previous quarters. In Indian domestic market, Styrene Butadiene Rubber price dropped to INR 178046 per MT on Ex-location basis in December.
Robust demand from downstream tire industry and consistently risen feedstock prices have culminated into a strong quarter for SBR market. Styrene Butadiene Rubber market gained from increased consumption and Ex-work price rose from USD 3010 per MT in October to USD 3288 per MT in December. Styrene and Butadiene remained on an incessant rise which pressured manufacturers to keep the SBR prices healthy throughout Q4. SBR Imports from Southeast Asia remained hampered on the European shores as high freight charges provided limited opportunity for Southeast Asian exports to be competitive and sustainable across European countries.
Several tire manufacturers have remarked that 2021 ended on a robust note in terms of production and revenue. This has epitomized SBR demand from tire and other industries. Meanwhile supply fundamentals improved, and logistics strengthened after struggling Q3 where truck availability was termed as severely limited across the North American region. SBR prices have vindicated the above demand pattern where prices continuously increased throughout Q4. Styrene Butadiene Rubber prices were assessed in early October at USD 3255 per MT while priced ended the last quarter at USD 3667 per MT on CFR basis in December.