For the Quarter Ending March 2023
In the North American region, the market sentiments of Styrene-Butadiene Rubber remained on the declining phase throughout the first quarter of 2023. The downstream (automotive sector) in the North American market remained weak, accompanied by declining feedstock (styrene and butadiene) prices. Importing prices remained on the lower edge as suppliers did not conquer frequent inquiries about the product. Meanwhile, the supply chain pressure was reduced to some extent. In the second half of Q1, the US bank crisis hampered the demand and supply chain ratio, becoming one of the facets for governing the declining prices of SBR in the regional market.
In the first quarter of 2023, Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) market dynamics inclined on account of stable demand outlook from downstream (automotive and rubber industrial). According to South Korean government official figures, domestic car sales increased in Q1 due to improved supply and bigger stocks; however, the demand strength for SBR remained under pressure. Moreover, the market's import volume of commercial cars and their components has decreased. Furthermore, one of the feedstock costs (styrene and butadiene) continued to fall in the Asia-Pacific market, impacting the entire production cost. The export quantity had declined, as stated by the major exporter (South Korea), consequently showcasing its impact on SBR final prices. Towards the quarter's end, SBR prices were observed at USD 1566 per MT, FOB Seoul.
The overall market trend of Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) moved southwards on the back of declining demand for the product from the automotive and rubber sectors. The European market witnessed a mixed demand outlook in different countries as Spain and France witnessed inclined sales of automobiles, whereas Germany witnessed a decline in the demand for the product. Meanwhile, it has been observed that Russian synthetic rubber imports into the EU have been declining substantially since the start of the Ukraine war. Despite a small uptick in manufacturing and purchasing activity, Germany's overall output rate was unable to exceed the expected bar for SBR sales. Most electric vehicle purchasers relied on government subsidies, and the country's supplies were depleted. Furthermore, the projected economic crisis had an impact on final expenses. As a result, the rubber industries suffered, slowing demand and putting pressure on suppliers to maintain consistent prices. Towards the quarter's end, SBR prices were observed at USD 2104 per MT, FD Wuppertal.
For the Quarter Ending December 2022
In the North American region, the market sentiments of Styrene-Butadiene Rubber fluctuated throughout the quarter on account of the slow demand outlook. Q4 of 2022 starting witnessed stagnancy accompanied by the feedstock (Styrene and Butadiene) prices. Official data showed an incline in automotive toward mid-quarter sales in the regional market; as a ripple effect, the operational rate elevated, keeping the prices stable. Towards the quarter's end, a drop in prices occurred as the US market slowed production due to storm Elliot and Christmas holidays. The demand from automotive tire sectors also declined proportionally, impacting the final prices of SBR in the North American region. Towards the end of Q4, the prices of Styrene Butadiene Rubber were USD 2676 per MT, CFR USG (USA).
In the fourth quarter of 2022, Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR) market dynamics declined sharply as the demand for the product declined in China. Throughout the quarter, the country remained silent as government officials imposed COVID lockdown curbs. Oversupply of the product, along with low production cost impacted by the feedstock (styrene and butadiene) prices. The demand outlook remained weak, and the ex-works price of SBR had drastically decreased at the start of the quarter; downstream gas buying was slow and buying sentiments declined. In the quarter ending, suppliers received only fewer inquiries about the product as the approaching new year pressured the buyers to follow the wait-and-watch behavior. Furthermore, Bridgestone in Huizhou shut down its SBR-producing plant in mid-Q4. Towards the end of the quarter, the market prices of Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) were USD 1430 per MT, CFR Qingdao (China).
The overall market trend of Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) moved southwards on the back of declining demand for the product from the automotive and construction industries. Oversupply of the product in Europe became one of the factors for the plant shutdown by Trinseo. New order quantity declined throughout the quarter due to the inflammation rate and increased energy prices. The European Union agreed on an oil price cap leading to higher fuel and energy prices in the European market. Availability of sufficient feed with end-using manufacturing units along with intensified supply on Hamburg port of Germany. Towards the quarter's end, despite the incline in feedstock (styrene), the final prices continued to decline due to sluggish demand as the festive season approached. Towards the quarter's end, the prices of SBR in the German market settled at USD 2828 per MT, FD Wuppertal.
For the Quarter Ending September 2022
In the North American region, the market dynamics of Styrene-Butadiene Rubber followed the stagnancy on the back of sluggish demand from downstream sectors. At the beginning of the third quarter of 2022, the US market witnessed stable downstream demand and easy logistics of feedstock and benzene from South Korea. Labour shortage and inflation in the country restricted the operational rate of Styrene Butadiene Rubber in the domestic market. Furthermore, demand dynamics in the downstream tire and Adhesives industries showcased fewer fluctuations. The automotive industry has been buoyant in the US market. Towards the quarter's end, the prices of Styrene Butadiene Rubber were USD 3009 per MT, CFR USG (USA).
In the third quarter of 2022, Styrene-Butadiene Rubber prices followed the downward trend in the Chinese market. The SBR prices fell due to a feedstock drop (Styrene and Butadiene) and deteriorating demand in the Chinese domestic market. Demand from the downstream tire industry was weak, as automobile sales remained low. Slight political stress between Taiwan and China impacted the logistics between other South Asian countries. The festive week in China impacted the operational rate of Styrene Butadiene Rubber in the country. Towards the end of the quarter, the market prices of Maleic Anhydride were USD 1695 per MT, CFR Qingdao (China).
In the European market, the overall prices of Styrene Butadiene Rubber followed stagnancy throughout the third quarter of 2022. The decline in demand from the downstream shoe, carpet, and adhesives affected market sentiments as consumption in the region fell. The traders saw an increase in inventory with the traders and suppliers due to increased product stockpiling, consequently decreasing the prices. Products were widely available in the regional market. High diesel prices and a truck driver shortage in Germany governed the increase in logistics charges. According to Firm Transport Intelligence, road freight charges in Germany increased by 6%. This has reduced the demand for the product from end users and low production of Styrene Butadiene Rubber in the domestic market. Towards the third quarter end, the market price of Styrene Butadiene Rubber was USD 3662 per MT, FD Wuppertal (Germany).
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.