The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers and the International Rubber Study Group plan to work together on synthetic rubber forecasts.
The agreement, approved recently by both organizations' boards, is an outgrowth of price-fixing investigations in the synthetic rubber industry and good relations between the groups, according to IISRP Managing Director James McGraw.
The IISRP typically gathered its statistical information for its SR forecasts through face-to-face conversations with the SR companies, McGraw said. The data then were collected for the group's regional reports and ultimately put together as the overall forecast.
``The companies are getting skittish,'' he said, because of the antitrust investigations, and gathering the information proved difficult.
Enter the IRSG. Hidde P. Smit took over as secretary-general of the group in January after A.F.S. Budiman retired at the end of 2004. McGraw, an acquaintance of Smit, approached him about a statistical cooperation. ``It is a golden opportunity for both of us to provide more details to our members and minimize work,'' McGraw said.
The IRSG is made up of government entities and focuses on natural rubber, while the IISRP comprises nearly all of the world's synthetic rubber producers and many affiliated companies.
Members of both organizations attend and sometimes speak at each other's meetings. Smit, for example, was at the recent IISRP annual general meeting in Coronado, Calif.
McGraw said the IISRP has used the IRSG's NR forecasts in its reports.
The agreement also calls for possible cooperation in other areas of mutual interest. The groups said their plan during the next 12 months includes:
* the IRSG's augmenting its long-range forecasting model to develop SR forecasts for production, consumption and required capacity by key elastomer types;
* adding projects on SBR, polybutadiene, polyisoprene, EPM/EPDM, butyl, nitrile and polychloroprene rubbers. Other products might be considered later;
* providing historical data from the institute to be used to prepare a consistent industrywide and worldwide platform of figures for SR by type; and
* adding SR latex and carbon black masterbatch-two areas the IISRP doesn't cover-in the statistical reporting.
The organizations expect the SR and NR projections will be included in one document, although both groups will continue to produce their individual statistical publications. McGraw said the IISRP will continue to publish its annual ``Worldwide Rubber Statistics.''