WASHINGTON—Volatility in raw materials prices for tires and rubber goods has moderated since last year, but is far from gone, according to manufacturers and industry analysts.
Tire manufacturers generally reported modest increases in raw material expenditures for 2017, but added that the issue of raw materials prices always bears watching.
Asked about raw materials pricing, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. referred to a comment made by Chief Financial Officer Ginger Jones during the company's fourth quarter/full year 2017 conference call.
Cooper saw an increase of just under 2 percent in its raw material index during the fourth quarter, from 150.2 to 153.1, Jones said.
"On a year-over-year basis, this index increased by 4.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016," she said. "As we look forward, we anticipate modest sequential increases in raw material costs in each quarter of 2018, but we remain cautious as this is hard to predict."
Goodyear referred to its 2017 annual report, in which it said it expected its raw material cost to be roughly flat during the full year of 2018, excluding raw material cost saving measures.
"We expect a benefit of approximately $25 million from price and product mix net of raw material costs," the company said.