Rubber & Plastics News compiled its 10 biggest stories from 2018, and we counted them down in our Dec. 10 print issue. We'll be running them online each workday from now until the end of the year.
10. Carbon black pressures
Demand for domestic carbon black is starting to outpace production with little end in sight.
Gary Horning, national accounts manager for Sid Richardson Carbon and Energy Co., said in April demand for tread carbon black is already tight in North America and will be oversold soon. There is a projected shortfall of about 375 million pounds by 2025.
Horning's firm was sold to Tokai Carbon Co. Ltd. for about $310 million in June in a move designed to enhance Sid Richardson's global competitiveness.
India already is experiencing a shortage of carbon black, with small-to-medium rubber product manufacturers struggling to stay in business. The All India Rubber Industries Association said as many as 1,000 small manufacturers were on the verge of closure in April, which would lead to about 200,000 job losses.
The nation's antidumping measures against carbon black imports from China and Russia are the primary cause of the shortfall, as domestic production has not been enough to fill the void.