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SR use growth to continue through 2004, says IISRP.

Synthetic rubber (SR) use in North America grew by 1% to 2,413,000 metric tons (kt) in 1999 and is expected to increase by an average of 2% per annum to 2,668 kt by the year 2004, according to the joint forecast of the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP), and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

In North America, consumption of synthetic rubber grew for the eighth consecutive year in 1999 largely due to the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) of 4%. The IISRP/ RMA's North American Statistical Committee expects GDP growth to slow somewhat in 1999.

Use of automotive elastomers rose at an average rate of 3.9% in 1999. Ethylene propylene rubber (EP(D)M) increased at a growth rate of 6% from 320 kt in 1998 to 340 kt in 1999. Part of this growth is believed to be influenced by customers' inventory building. Acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) grew by 0.9%, from 87 kt in 1998 to 88 kt. Polychloroprene rubber (CR), however, decreased by 2.2%, from 69 kt in 1998 to 68 kt last year.

According to RMA's Tire Market Analysis Committee, all tire shipment categories, with the exception of domestic tire production, experienced substantial growth, and as a result, use of tire elastomers was flat at -0.5% in 1999. Butyl (IIR) and polyisoprene (IR), which have been combined statistically due to disclosure rules, were up 2% last year. Meanwhile, polybutadiene rubber (BR) rose 1.8% to 571 kt, while styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) solid decreased 2% to 890 kt. Although SBR solid decreased, the decrease was limited to emulsion polymerized SBR. Emulsion SBR decreased 3.4%, while solution polymerized SBR increased by 1.8%.

In 2000, tire elastomers should increase moderately at a rate of 1.9% in North America. In 2004, that rate should increase to 2.1%. Specifically, butyl and polyisoprene will rise at an annual average rate of 2.5%. SBR solid should reach 987 kt, increasing at a 2.1 annual percentage rate to 2004. Further breaking down SBR solid, solution SBR is expected to increase at an annual average rate of 5%, while emulsion SBR is expected to moderately increase at an average of 0.8%.

Auto-related elastomers, excluding original equipment tires, are forecast to increase at an annual rate of 2.1% over the next five years. EP(D)M should rise at an annual average rate of 3% from 340 kt in 1999 to 394 kt in 2004. NBR solid should increase at a 0.2% rate from 88 kt in 1999 to 89 kt in 2004, while polychloroprene rubber, with continuing substitution, is expected to remain flat at around 67 kt.

Natural rubber, which had a 3.4% growth to 1,241 kt in 1999, is predicted to increase at an annual average rate of 1.1% over the next five years with consumption of 1,309 kt in 2004.

In Latin America, use of SR, up 1.8%, mostly reflects the recovery in Mexico. In Mexico, SR consumption increased by 6.5%, spurred partly by an increase in GDP of 4.6% in 1999. Mexico also enjoyed a healthy increase of exports of manufactured goods in 1999. In Brazil, SR consumption was up 2.4%, with most of the growth taking place in the second half of the year. GDP growth is projected to increase more than 3.5% in 2000. In Argentina, where consumption decreased by 0.4% in 1998, SR consumption again saw negative growth of 3.2%. The country remains deep in recession with no projected positive GDP growth projected.

Overall, Latin American SR consumption should increase moderately at 1.4% in 2000 at 590 kt. Over the next five years, consumption is expected to reflect this same moderate growth rate of 1.6%, reaching 631 kt in 2004. Predicted to lead this growth is Mexico, where the growth rate should increase by 2.1% per annum. Representing the largest percentage of total Latin American SR consumption, Brazil is expected to increase by 1.9% per annum to 341 kt in 2004.

In line with the agreement of cooperation signed by the two organizations in September 1999, the IISRP and the RMA are issuing a joint forecast for the first time. It should be noted that the IISRP has excluded forecasts for lattices, on a global basis.

While the IISRP holds the primary responsibilities in Latin America, the two organizations hold joint meetings comprising both North America and Latin America. In Latin America, consumption of synthetic rubber increased in 1999 by 1.8% to 582 kt. Over the next five years, consumption is expected to increase at an annual average rate of 1.6% to 631 kt in 2004.

TPE medical usage grows

The fastest growing market for polymeric materials in the healthcare field will be for thermoplastic elastomers, according to a new study by Business Communications. The study, "Plastics for medical devices," states that the annual average growth rate (AAGR) for TPEs will be 7.3% between 1999 and 2004. This market will expand from 90 million pounds in 1999 to 128 million pounds by 2004.

The total market is expected to have an AAGR of 5.8%, consuming over 2.6 billion pounds of polymeric materials by 2004. Other materials to experience higher than average AAGRs are styrenics, engineering resins and thermosets, with growths between 6-6.5%.
Table 1 - new rubber consumption forecast for North America

 99/00 99/00
 1999 2000 Change 2004 Change

Total SBR solid 890 909 2.1% 987 2.1%
Polybutadiene 571 580 1.5% 632 2.0%
Ethylene propylene 340 350 2.9% 394 3.0%
Polychloroprene 68 68 0% 67 -0.1%
NBR solid 88 88 0% 89 0.2%
Polyisoprene 79 82 4.1% 96 4.0%
Others 378 382 1.0% 404 1.3%
Total synthetic 2,413 2,458 1.9% 2,668 2.0%
Total TPEs 506 533 5.3% 647 5.0%
Subtotal rubber 2,919 2,991 2.5% 3,315 2.6%
Natural rubber solid 1,139 1,151 1.1% 1,203 1.1%
Natural rubber latex 102 102 0% 106 0.6%
Natural rubber 1,241 1,253 1.0% 1,309 1.1%
Total rubber 4,160 4,244 2.0% 4,624 2.1%
Table 2 - new rubber consumption forecast for Latin America

 99/00 99/00
 1999 2000 Change 2004 Change

Total SBR solid 365.4 371.0 1.5% 392.5 1.4%
Polybutadiene 132.1 134.2 1.6% 145.5 2.0%
Ethylene propylene 20.9 22.1 5.7% 27.4 5.6%
Polychloroprene 19.3 19.1 -1.3% 19.4 0.1%
NBR solid 13.5 13.4 -1.0% 13.9 0.6%
Polyisoprene 6.0 6.0 0% 6.0 0%
Others 24.6 24.6 0% 26.0 1.1%
Total synthetic 581.8 5902 1.4% 630.7 1.6%
Total TPEs 18.3 19.5 6.5% 22.0 3.7%
Subtotal rubber 600.1 610 1.6% 652.6 1.7%
Natural rubber 165.0 164.5 0.3% 177.0 1.4%
Total rubber 765.1 774.2 1.2% 829.6 1.6%
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Title Annotation:International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers
Comment:SR use growth to continue through 2004, says IISRP.(International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers)
Publication:Rubber World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2000
Words:1215
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