Published March 2016
This report focuses on the global market for the major nitrile elastomers. It discusses the following three nitrile elastomers:
- Nitrile butadiene rubber (solid NBR rubber)
- Nitrile butadiene latex (NBR latex)
- Hydrogenated NBR (HNBR)
In their simplest form, nitrile elastomers are copolymers of an unsaturated nitrile (acrylonitrile) and a conjugated diene (usually butadiene). Nitrile rubber has the distinctive feature of high resistance to oils (aliphatic hydrocarbons) over a wide temperature range. Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) is also noted for high strength and excellent resistance to abrasion, water, alcohols and heat. Disadvantages include poor dielectric properties and poor resistance to ozone and strong oxidants.
The following pie charts show world consumption of NBR solid and NBR latex.
Solid NBR is mainly used to make oil-resistant industrial goods, such as hoses, tubing, and seals, which are mainly used in the automotive industry in China.
The largest consumer of solid NBR in 2015 was China, with 38% of global consumption. The market for HNBR is still concentrated mainly in the most industrialized countries of North America, Western Europe, and Japan. With regard to NBR latex consumption, the most dramatic growth has been seen in Malaysia and other East Asian countries. During the last 10 years, Malaysia has continued as the global leader/center of the latex dipping/glove manufacturing industry. It is the world’s largest producer of nitrile rubber gloves, with a two-thirds share of the global market in recent years.
Chinese industries, especially the automotive industry, have developed very rapidly in recent years. The production of vehicles in China has grown at a 6.7% average annual rate in the past five years. Production of vehicles is forecast to increase by about 4.5% annually during 2015–20.
Since Malaysia is the world’s largest supplier of nitrile rubber gloves, most of the supply of NBR latex is consumed in the production of protective gloves and other rubber products. Malaysian consumption of NBR latexes increased at around 20% per year from 2005 to 2015. Malaysia has been the world’s largest importer of NBR latexes. During 2015–20, Malaysian demand for NBR latexes is expected to continue to increase at an average annual rate of 7%. Global consumption of solid NBR and NBR latex is forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 3% and 6% per year, respectively, through 2020.