Polybutadiene is a polymer formed by polymerization of 1, 3-butadiene. It is a synthetic rubber, which is mostly used in the production of tires, and also to enhance the resistance of polystyrene and ABS (acrylonitrile butadienestyrene). Production of golf balls and coating of electronics also require polybutadiene. High resistivity of polybutadiene is a major factor augmenting its demand in tire manufacturing plants.

One of the significant drivers for the global polybutadiene market is the rapid growth in automotive and plastic industries. Properties such as low transition, high resistance, high tensile strength, abrasion resistance, and toughness fuel the demand for polybutadiene globally. Moreover, increasing demand for ecofriendly and fuel efficient tires is also driving the global polybutadiene market. However, price volatility of raw materials is a prominent restraint in the polybutadiene market.

Polybutadiene Market Taxonomy

On the basis of product type, the global polybutadiene market is classified as:

  • High cis polybutadiene
  • Low cis polybutadiene
  • High trans polybutadiene
  • High vinyl polybutadiene

On the basis of application, the global polybutadiene market is classified as:

  • Industrial Rubber Manufacturing
  • Polymer Modification
  • Tire Manufacturing
  • Chemical industry
  • Others

High cis polybutadine contains typically 92% or over cis and very small quantity of vinyl, typically less than 3%. It is produced by using the Natta-Ziegler catalyst, however the properties vary depending on the quality of the metal. Rubber is the second largest application segment of polybutadine market, tire industry being the fastest growing segment.

Polybutadiene Market Outlook

  • Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market in the forecast period. Rubber market of this region is growing at a significant pace, owing to the economic growth and increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) witnessed over the past few years. Thailand is the world’s top natural rubber producing country followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Growth of automobile industry—the major end-use industry in the region—is further propelling the demand for polybutadiene. According to CAAM (China Association of Automobile Manufacturers), China has witnessed a sale of 2,167,000 cars in July 2017.
  • The North America polybutadiene market is expected to experience a significant growth during the forecast period. Presence of major end-use industries such as automotive and the tire, further augments the demand for poybutadiene. According to the International Trade Administration, value of automotive parts exports from the U.S was US$ 81 billion in 2015.
  • The Europe tire market has witnessed a moderate growth over the past couple of years. However, the region witness high import of tires. According to the European Tire and Rubber Manufactures Association, 206,672 tires were sold in 2016, with an increase of 2% from the previous year.
  • The polybutadiene market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to witness a steady growth in the forecast period. This is due to the volatility in price as a result of low crude oil production in these regions.

Major players operating in the global polybutadiene market follow various organic and inorganic growth strategies in order to gain a competitive edge. For instance, new techniques have been adopted for the production of high grade polybutadiene using alkyllithium by Ziegler. Some of the major players in the global polybutadiene market are JSR Corporation, PJSC Sibur Holding, Mitsubishi Corporation, Firestone Polymers LLC, China Wanda Group, Kuraray Co. Ltd., LG Chem Ltd., and Nippon Soda Co. Ltd., among others.

Polybutadiene Market Key Developments:

  • In March 2013, Mitsubishi Corporation joined forces with Ube Industries, Ltd., Lotte Chemical Corporation and wholly owned Lotte Chemical subsidiary, Lotte Chemical Titan to set up a three-company joint venture in Malaysia for the manufacture and sale of poly-butadiene rubber. This joint venture was established to overcome the increasing demand of poly-butadiene rubber in Asia.
  • In May 2014, SIBUR, a leading Russian gas processing and petrochemicals company, signed a contract with China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (“Sinopec”) to establish a joint venture for the construction of a 50 ktpa butadiene nitrile rubber (or “NBR”) plant at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. This venture was established for expanding its production and commercial operations.
  • In December 2018, Kuraray Co. Ltd, PTT Global Chemical PCL and Sumitomo Corp. announced about their investment in a project for the manufacture of butadiene derivatives in Thailand. This project will be operated by a joint venture called Kuraray GC Advanced Materials Co. Ltd. And it is expected to increase the company’s annual capacity.
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