Published April 2022
Styrene-butadiene elastomers (SBR) are the largest-volume synthetic rubber in the world. SBR is produced through the copolymerization of butadiene with styrene at a ratio of approximately 3:1. There are two major types of SBR—emulsion and solution. Emulsion SBR (ESBR) continues to lose ground to solution SBR (SSBR), which is better suited to meet the increasingly stringent specifications of high-performance tires.
Nevertheless, emulsion SBR grades still account for the majority of total world capacity as of 2021. However, as most new SBR capacity additions are based on the solution SBR process, the share of emulsion SBR will continue to decrease marginally through the forecast period to 2026.
The tire industry is the dominant consumer of SBR. SBR is also used in nontire automotive applications, conveyor belts, industrial hoses, various molded and extruded rubber goods, footwear, and other consumer goods. Some grades of SBR, those that are waterproof and free from impurities, are also utilized in the cable industry.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of styrene-butadiene elastomers:
In the past five years, global consumption of emulsion SBR has declined slowly, but some regions were able to increase their share. Mainland China remains the largest consumer of emulsion SBR; however, its consumption has declined since 2016. The Indian Subcontinent has increased its consumption rapidly in the last few years.
Overall, the major consuming regions in 2021 were mainland China, the United States, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent.
Global consumption of solution SBR has increased moderately during the last five years; however, capacity increased at a faster rate during the same time, leading to overcapacity issues and falling operating rates. By far the largest capacity additions were witnessed in Southeast Asia (Singapore and Thailand), South Korea, Central and Eastern Europe, and the CIS and Baltic States. Mainland China is the largest consumer of solution SBR, followed by Western Europe, the United States, and Central and Eastern Europe.
Considering the large amount of SBR consumed in the manufacture of tires and other automotive products like belts, hoses, and gaskets, demand is very much dependent on the automotive industry and tire sectors as a whole. On a positive note, growing use of low–rolling resistance tires to reduce fuel consumption and decrease CO2 emissions should increase solution SBR demand. Since these performance improvements cannot be achieved with emulsion SBR, there is a trend toward the increasing use of solution SBR, which is reflected in a comparably healthy estimated average growth rate over the next five years. The most important determinant of SBR elastomer consumption is demand for tires.
For more detailed information, see the table of contents, shown below.
S&P Global’s Chemical Economics Handbook – Styrene-Butadiene Elastomers (SBR) is the comprehensive and trusted guide for anyone seeking information on this industry. This latest report details global and regional information, including
S&P Global’s Chemical Economics Handbook – Styrene-Butadiene Elastomers (SBR) has been compiled using primary interviews with key suppliers, organizations and leading representatives from the industry in combination with S&P Global’s unparalleled access to upstream and downstream market intelligence, expert insights into industry dynamics, trade and economics.
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