By Miles Moore
NR prices on an upward spiral
Natural rubber prices hit all-time high.
That’s been a common headline throughout the past month, as NR prices have climbed well past the $5-per-kilogram mark—to $6.05 in Tokyo on Feb. 7. With NR supply short and demand high, they show every sign of going higher.
The cause—a perfect storm in the NR world, a combination of soaring demand, weather woes, currency fluctuations and the slow pace of replanting and maturation of the Hevea brasiliensis tree.
NR prices have rocketed upward on various commodity exchanges. On the Singapore Commodity Exchange, Rubber Smoked Sheets 3 reached $5.70 per kilo for March delivery in Singapore Jan. 20, while Technically Specified Rubber 20 rose to $5.47 per kilogram.
Standard Indonesian Rubber 20, the natural rubber grade used most often by U.S. tire manufacturers, stood at $2.51 per pound at the port of origin Jan. 20, a full 10 cents higher than just eight days before.
At the same time, prices of styrene-butadiene rubber, the most commonly used synthetic rubber, haven’t matched the NR increases. But like NR and butadiene, SBR prices have risen.
SBR prices increased some $600 per metric ton to $3,000-$3,100 between early October and January, according to ICIS, an online chemical and synthetic rubber information service. (read more)