Houston, Texas –The global market for synthetic rubber (SR) is set to grow helped by increasing demand in emerging markets, according to the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP).
This is despite current oil-price volatility, environmental concerns, regulatory changes and trade ‘actions’, IISRP said in the 2018 edition of its Worldwide Rubber Statistics (WRS) report.
Offsetting these negative factors will be growth in demand from the automotive, construction and manufacturing industries - on the back of rising prosperity in emerging countries.
In particular, the automotive industry – representing about 75% of total rubber-production-services demand – remains one of the fastest growing industries in the world, Juan Ramon Salinas, the institute's MD and CEO noted in the WRS executive summary.
IISRP, added Salinas, also saw a trend towards the adoption of “eco-friendly rubbers” in the automotive industry – to meet demand for fuel-efficiency, light-weight and environmentally-friendly components.
Regionally, however, the Institute has identified a slowdown in growth of production capacity in China "due to the over-investment during the last decade."
Despite the issues facing China, 2018 global production capacity figures show “a positive balance in terms of production capacity,” Salinas said in the executive summary.
The overall balance, he said, reflected: annual capacity increases totalling around 200 kilotonnes elsewhere in Asia Pacific; expansions in Russia; production capacity rationalisation in Africa; and idle facilities still in place in China.
The report includes an update on the short-term outlook for new projects and expansions: indicating “moderate growth” between 2019 and 2021 compared to previous estimations.
About 80% of forecast new production capacity and expansions will be for styrene-butadiene-based products, said Salinas, adding, however, that “delays or cancellations are expected based on market-performance.”
The 2018 edition of the WRS includes revisions to elastomer plant capacities, and IISRP's China office has played a part in enhancing the intelligence on the Chinese market, according to an IISRP release.
The 85-page book, which has been published annually for more than 30 years, provides an analysis of capacity by elastomer type, geographical distribution and corporate ownership.
Detailed marketed statistics, capacities of synthetic rubber production facilities worldwide and a section on planned and announced expansions are included in the report.