Global Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) Market Growth: Strong in Asia Pacific, Sluggish in North America

Manufacturers in the global market for nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) use NBR powder to produce frictional compounds and PVC modifications. The key companies producing NBR are Huangshan Hualan Technology, LG Chem, Lanxess, OMNOVA, Nitriflex, Zeon Chemicals, Taprath Polymers, and Zeon Chemicals. The global NBR market is moderately concentrated in nature. The top five companies in this market hold a significant 38% share. Continuous investment aimed at capacity additions is one of the promising trends in this industry. Manufacturers are investing in new machinery in order to maximize their use of raw materials and optimize costs.

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Rising Demand for NBR from Automotive Sector to Drive Global Market

The global NBR market is divided by application into automotives, footwear, buildings, consumer goods, PVC modification, and others. The PVC modification segment held the largest market share in 2012, amounting to 48%. Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) is also used in modification of other kinds of resins, such as phenolic resins and ABS resins. The accelerating demand for frictional compounds from the automotive sector is expected to drive this application segment greatly.The automotive application sector in the global NBR market is projected to expand at the highest CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period of 2013 to 2019. This trend is anticipated to continue in the coming few years and will be especially prevalent in the Asia Pacific market.

Asia Pacific to Exhibit Fastest Growth in Global Market

Asia Pacific is the leading market segment according to geography. This regional NBR market held the bulk of total demand for NBR in 2012, which was recorded over 44%. Asia Pacific is predicted to be the fastest growing NBR market, due to the increasing number of end users of NBR in the region. These include: Brake lining manufactures, footwear manufactures, and auto part manufactures.

On the contrary, North America holds the smallest share in the global market for nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR). The shift from NBR powder to its substitutes, particularly for PVC modification applications, is expected to slow down the growth of NBR market in North America. The Europe and Rest of the World (RoW) market followed Asia Pacific in 2012. Together, RoW and Europe held a collective market share of around 40% in 2012 in the global NBR market. Relatively few NBR manufacturers operate in the RoW region. Nitriflex, a Brazil-based company, is one of the top manufactures of NBR powder.

Linear and Cross-linked NBR Powder to Demonstrate Significant Growth

Manufactures in the global nitrile butadiene rubber market produce two types of products, namely linear NBR powder and cross-linked NBR powder. At present, the cross-lined/pre-cross-linked NBR powder dominates the market. Cross-linked NBR powder finds application in production of frictional materials and resin modifications. On the other hand, linear NBR powder is generally used to make seals and gaskets.

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The linear NBR powder and cross-linked NBR powder segments are expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. Among the two, cross-linked NBR powder will demonstrate the fastest CAGR of 5.2% in terms of volume during the forecasting horizon.

Volume-wise, the global market for nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) was pegged at 73,820.8 tons in 2012, and revenue-wise the market totaled US$275.6 million in 2012. By end of 2019, the global NBR market is projected to be worth US$425.7 million, growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period.

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