Seoul – Kumho Petrochemical’s synthetic rubber (SR) sales dropped 2.5% year-on-year to KRW2.0 trillion (€1.5 billion) in 2018, the company announced 1 Feb.
The statement did not include operating income figures for SR but said profitability had “diminished” during last year.
Kumho Petrochemical also noted “plummeting sales prices” in November ,due to a decline in butadiene (BD) prices.
Indeed, the company said Asian BD prices fell throughout the fourth quarter on slowing demand downstream.
Prices for the monomer, it said, fell 29% quarter-on-quarter to around $1,140/tonne by the end of last year.
Similar declines were noted in Europe, where prices fell to about $1,200/tonne in the final three months of 2018.
SR prices also tracked downwards in the fourth quarter, Kumho Petrochemical also reported.
Styrene butadiene rubber dropped 12% quarter-on-quarter to end the year at $1,450/tonne.
Butadiene rubber prices fell, though less sharply, to end December at around $1,700/tonne.
Looking ahead, Kumho said it expected a ‘temporary tight’ butadiene supply in first half of 2019.
This, it said, is due to planned shutdowns of naphtha crackers in Europe and Asia.
Butadiene prices are predicted to “stabilise” in the second half, after plant start-ups in China and Korea.
As for SR, Kumho said downstream industries, such as automotive and tires, “will experience a low growth rate of 1%.”