News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

November 24, 2009

Notch Announces Quarterly Report on Carbon Black Pricing, Supply/Demand, and Industry News

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:30 am

While at the Carbon Black 2009 Perspective in Asia Pacific conference (see post below), Notch Consulting announced a major new addition to its report lineup: The Contact Patch, a quarterly report on carbon black pricing, supply and demand, and industry developments. The first issue of the report was published this month, and future issues will appear quarterly.

The new report is included at no charge with a subscription to Notch’s annual report, the Carbon Black World Data Book, but the quarterly report may also be purchased separately, on either an annual or single issue basis. Contact Notch at info AT for details and subscription rates.

The report includes two components:

Pricing Report: Provides quarterly and monthly contract prices for major rubber grades for

  • the United States (N110, N234, N330, N339, N550 – prices in US$),
  • the European Union (N234, N326, N330, N339, N550- prices in €),
  • Brazil (N234, N330, N339, N550 – prices in US$); and
  • Monthly spot prices for China (N220, N234, N326, N330, N550 – prices in RMB)

Supply and Demand Update: Provides year-to-date figures based on the latest quarterly data and full-year forecasts for the current year, with a comparison to the previous year’s performance during the same period. Each issue also includes revised forecasts. Data cover all major countries as well as regional and global totals, and include carbon black capacity, utilization, production, and apparent consumption. The report also includes capacity developments, status of pending projects, and industry news.

Reflections of Bangkok

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 7:20 am

Carbon Black 2009 Perspective in Asia Pacific was held last week in Bangkok, and Notch Consulting had the honor of delivering one of the key-note addresses. The paper was entitled “Global Economic Recession: Effect on the Carbon Black Industry.” Mr. Anil Kumar of PVTI India organized the conference along with a group of executives from leading carbon black companies in the region. The location was enchanting, the agenda well organized, and the proceedings highly informative. It was great to see old friends and make a few new ones.

The mood among attendees could be described as cautiously optimistic. There is a feeling that the worst of this punishing recession is in the past (with the trough probably occurring in the first or second quarter of 2009, depending on the region), and the hope that the regional and global markets will return to growth in 2010. However, there is an awareness that the road ahead may be rocky. There was much discussion of the import tariffs that the United States imposed on Chinese tires earlier this year, and what effect the tariffs would have not only on Chinese passenger tire production but also on those countries most likely to pick up market share at China’s expense.

After curtailing expansion activity beginning last fall, suppliers are again moving forward with new projects, and Notch heard details of several new projects planned for coming years. The industry’s newest producer, Himadri Chemicals in India, had a major presence at the conference. They were joined by nearly 200 other attendees from leading carbon black suppliers as well as equipment providers, feedstock suppliers, governmental organizations (including the China Carbon Black Institute), and consultants. All in all, a great trip.

Below: Entrance to Dusit Thani Hotel, site of the conference

Below: Detail near entrance of Wat Phra Kaew temple

Below: Detail of statue from Wat Pho temple

Below: Rumor has it that some attendees even indulged in the ancient art of Thai Fish Massage

November 20, 2009

Michelin Reports Stronger Tire Sales for October

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, insoluble sulfur, Rubber Chemicals, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 1:15 pm

Michelin has released its October 2009 and year-to-date figures for tire sales, and the figures offer a significantly more positive performance in some key sectors, though difficulties remain. In original equipment passenger car and light truck tire markets, October replacement sales were up in all three of Michelin’s reported regions compared to October 2008, with Europe up 6.4% (of which Europe excluding CIS was up 10.4%), North America up 6.9%, and China up 11.4%. However, October’s original equipment PC/LT tire sales were down 0.9% in Europe and 8.4% in North America compared to October 2008, though China showed strong growth of 75.2%. Given the difficulties of the first nine months of the year, YTD PC/LT sales are still down for both the OE and replacement segments in Europe and North America, though China’s market is up 52.7% in OE and up 14.4% in replacement YTD.

Radial truck tires also posted stronger results in October, at least on the replacement side. Replacement truck tire sales increased 0.4% in Europe including CIS, 16.8% in Brazil, 12.7% in Japan, and 12.1% in China. Among Michelin’s reported regions, only the North American market saw declines in truck tire replacement sales in October, which totaled 3.1%. However, original equipment radial truck tires continued to show steep declines across all regions in October 2009 compared to October 2008, with the steepest percentage declines (60.5%) in Europe including CIS.

Reflecting the deep and prolonged downturn in this segment, truck tire year-to-date figures were down nearly across the board in both the OE and replacement segments. The lone exception was China’s replacement sales, which were up 0.5%.

The full results are here.

Cancarb Registers Thermal Black for REACH

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:38 pm

Our friends at Cancarb report the successful REACH registration of all of the company’s Thermax and Carbocolor thermal carbon black products. The registration was carried out by the Global Energy Investments S.a.r.L., a representative, and was confirmed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) on November 13, 2009, well ahead of the deadline of November 30, 2010.

The full press release is here.

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