Vitry-sur-Seine, France – Difficulties in sourcing raw materials, price pressure and the ongoing logistics difficulties have become “a major concern” for French rubber processors over the recent months, the Syndicat National du Caoutchouc et des Polymères (SNCP) has warned.
Pressure around raw materials supply has been building since the start of the year, with high prices leading to “a consolidated inflation in the sector” and the outlook remaining “uncertain”, said the French association in a 3 May statement.
SNCP identified styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) as the two materials with the highest price rise since the start of the year, posting 21% and 17% increases respectively. Nitrile rubber prices have surged 14% over the first three months of the year.
“The [price] increases have been violent and accompanied by further delays in deliveries, under allocation, and multiple cases of force majeure,” said the association.
SNCP linked the current challenges mainly to the producers of raw materials, who it said are struggling to regain pre-Covid levels and to cope with the rebound in demand, particularly in Asia.
Furthermore, “very strong tensions” on the logistics side, in particular marine shipping, have added to the supply-chain woes.
The ongoing difficulties, SNPC noted, have weakened a recovery trend observed at the end of 2020, with processors feeling the impact on their margins and delivery times.
SNCP went on to call for ‘constructive dialogue and a search for balanced solutions' between suppliers and processors in the rubber and tire industry.