China synthetic rubber leaps in bounds in 2023 – report

China synthetic rubberChina’s synthetic rubber sees growth in 2023, according to an industry report. The Global and China Synthetic Rubber (BR, SBR, EPR, IIR, NBR, Butadiene, Styrene, Rubber Additive) Industry Report, 2018-2023 said that a growth rate of around 6% for synthetic rubber is just around the corner for China.

The country’s synthetic rubber output reached 5,787 kt in 2017, a 6.0% notch up from last year, to 6,123 kt in 2018. In 2023, it is expected to hit 8,110 kt, a 6 % growth rate.

The two most common synthetic rubbers in China are styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and butadiene rubber (BR), with a capacity accounting for 32.1% and 25.8%, respectively of the country’s total SR capacity in 2018 and over the past two years, China enjoyed the steady pace of growth for its SR. Because of this, rubber plants resume production after being out of operation for some years.

“SBR and BR seized a combined 32.4% share of China’s total synthetic rubber output in 2017 which became the largest output among main synthetic rubbers,” the report furthered.

It was also noted that a decline in the production commenced , while special rubber products like ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) and nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) began to pick up pace in the market. Among these, EPR became the fastest growing segment, that reached 29.5% to 202,600 tonnes of output in 2018.

in the first eleven months of 2018, the import and export of China’s main SR dropped: BR imports and exports fell by 27.1% and 8.5% respectively to 181,600 tonnes and 31,400 tonnes.”

Several factors were considered regarding this decline: “Sowing downstream demand was a factor in the decline; another cause was the escalating trade tensions between China and America from March 208: almost all of China’s products in the SR industry chain were on the list of America’s tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods. Although both countries had agreed to suspend tariff increase in late 2018, it still hurt China’s imports and exports of synthetic rubber products” according to the report.

Despite trade maelstroms, Chinese producers have continued to invest heavily to develop new products in recent years, making some breakthroughs.

Examples of which are PetroChina’s successful commissioning of self-developed high-strength SBR, SSBR2060 in its Dushanzi Refinery in July 2018; PetroChina Jilin Petrochemical Research Institute’s accomplishment of an optimisation test of self-developed high-strength SBR, SBR1566 in November 2018 and its successful development of a new ethylene propylene rubber (EPR), X-0150 in the same month, ” the report concluded.