MILAN, Italy-Raw material prices for European hose makers started to rise during 1994 and took off in early 1995, according to a survey of hose makers by Assogomma, the Italian rubber manufacturers' association.
The report doesn't track more recent increases, though Assogomma said there have been more rises since February 1995 in many of the materials surveyed.
Prices for the plasticizer dioctyl phthalate grew the fastest among rubber product raw materials in 1994, the report said.
On an index of 100 set in December 1993, DOP rose to 289 in Germany by February 1995.
On the same index, natural rubber prices increased to about 170 in Germany and 200 in Italy. The difference reflects the weakness of the Italian lira over that period, according to the report.
Assogomma surveyed a large number of European hose makers about price increases in various raw materials over the period. After normalizing the numbers to a base of 100, the organization published the data by country and by material.
The numbers also show that the materials suppliers haven't yet recovered from the full effects of currency exchange rates, leaving prices relatively low in Italy and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom, compared with equivalent materials in Germany and Bene-lux-Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Apart from the food contact plasticizer, DOP, the biggest increases have been in materials where the added value is relatively low, otherwise where feedstocks form a large part of the cost to a rubber manufacturer, Assogamma said.
These are primarily the bulk materials used in tire manufacturing: NR, SBR, polybutadiene rubber and, to a lesser extent, carbon black.
To a large extent, the price increases reflect the increases in basic raw materials. Styrene especially has increased in price dramatically since early 1994.
Now that those feedstock prices are starting to fall back, users can expect some relief on the steady price increases that have been imposed since 1994, the report said.
The Assogomma report also concluded that suppliers are demanding much stricter payment terms, with 90-day terms falling to 60-day terms and moving toward 30-day terms.
In a third aspect of the study, hose makers were asked if they faced difficulty in obtaining supplies of production ingredients.
Virtually all respondents indicated that there were problems in obtaining SBR, carbon black and hose wire in February, with shortages of EPDM, polychloroprene and rubber chemicals reported in some regions, the report said.