China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corporation), LANXESS AG, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), TSRC Corporation, KUMHO PETROCHEMICAL, ExxonMobil Corporation (ExxonMobil), Asahi Kasei Corporation, Dynasol Elastomers, DuPont, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., Versalis S.p.A , and The Dow Chemical Company are to name a few of the key companies operating in the global market for synthetic rubber.
Transparency Market Research recently prepared an elaborate report on the market for synthetic rubber. It states that clocking a steady CAGR of 5.10% over the course of the forecast period starting from 2015 and ending in 2023, the market’s estimated valuation would likely reach US$45,767.1 mn by 2023-end. It was valued at US$29,121.2 mn in 2014.
Among the different types of synthetic rubber available in the market, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is the dominant product segment. In 2014 it accounted for a significant 30.0% share. SBR is essentially a copolymer comprised of styrene and butadiene in a ratio of 3:1 by weight. The reason by SBR is seeing greater uptake is because of its enhanced processability, resistance to abrasion, and heat aging. It mostly finds application in making tires for cars in combination with natural rubber. SBR also finds usage in making conveyor belts, hoses, gaskets, footwear, floor tiles, and adhesives. Geographically, Asia Pacific takes the lead because of an exploding automotive industry that is driving up demand for tires.
Myriad Advantages over Natural Rubber Leads to Soaring Sales of Synthetic Rubbers
Synthetic rubbers are fast supplanting natural rubber because of the price volatility of the former. Natural rubbers suffer from price volatility mainly because of uncertain availability of raw materials owing to restrictions placed on its production. This in turn is because rubber manufactured from rubber latex – a white liquid obtained from trees, which is first used in making intermediate rubber that finds application in making medical gloves, rubber tires, rubber bands, condoms, and flexible tubings – can cause air, water, and land pollution in the process. Besides, on account of natural rubber being produced only in certain regions namely Thailand, India, the US, Indonesia, and Malaysia, cost of transportation drives up prices along with the high cost of labor. All these are promoting the uptake of synthetic rubber which costs less to produce and this thus cheaper and more abundantly available.
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Flourishing Automotive Industry Majorly Fuelling Market
Currently, the automotive industry is at the forefront of driving demand for synthetic rubber. With the rising disposable incomes of people all over the world, particularly in the large, densely populated nations of India and China, the demand for cars and vehicles have skyrocketed. This has provided a major boost to the demand for synthetic rubber for making tires in automobiles. In fact, tires contribute to half the market share in the synthetic rubber market. Adds the lead analyst of our report, “Rising demand for tires, particularly the green ones which have better performance, mainly because of tire labelling regulations, is expected to stoke demand for synthetic rubber.”
However, one headwind posing serious challenge to the market for synthetic rubber is the glut resulting from the frequent capacity additions by players and also because of the continued production of natural rubber.