2013 and 2014 marked bumper years for the tire industry. On the one hand, the raw material prices in the upstream remained falling; on the other hand, both the European and American markets resuscitated in a moderate manner, leading to an increasing demand from downstream. Take natural rubber, as a kind of raw material in the upstream, for example, the prices continued slipping, down from USD4,616/ton in 2011Q4 to USD2,574/ton in 2013Q4 in the international market. As the same case in Chinese market, the natural rubber price slumped from RMB21, 500/ton in Oct.2013 to RMB14, 380/ton by Mar.2013, a sharp drop of 33%. It is estimated that the price of natural rubber will maintain at a low level or even will see a slight decline in the second half of 2014.
In 2013, the tire demand appeared to be robust due to the steady recovery of European and American Economy. In 2013, on the global basis, the OE tire and RT (Replacement) tire demand for PLT (Passenger and Light Truck) use both grew by 3%, for CV (Commercial Vehicle) use increased by 6% and 5%, separately.
* In Europe, the OE tire for PLT use rose by 1% and RT tire demand kept flat, the figure for CV use witnessed growth of 4% and 8%, respectively.
* In North America, the OE tire and RT tire demand for PLT use both jumped by 5%, while for CV use fell by 7% and 2%, separately.
* In Asia, the OE tire and RT tire demand for PLT use shot up by 5% and 6%, and for CV use went up by 12% and 5%, respectively.
* In South America, the tire demand for CV use presented strong rebound, OE and RT shot up by 30% and 10%, respectively.
* Africa-India-Middle East market, the OE tire demand for PLT use dropped by 6% , while RT went up by 4%; the OE tire for CV use glided by 13%, while RT climbed by 8%.
According to the statistics conducted by China Rubber Industry Association Tire Branch, the profit of 46 industrial players surveyed rose by 12.3% to a record high of RMB10.07 billion. China exports a matter of one third of its tire products, and mostly to the US. In 2013, the US imported 51.2 million tires from China, up 57.5%, the record growth in the past 7 years. In 2012, the import volume, for the US, grew by 25% to 32.5 million units; in 2011, the figure posted 26 million. During 2013, the import volume of tires for passenger cars, for America, beat a new peak, up by 13.6% year-on-year to 143.7 million. The growth mainly attributed to the import business from following three regions: Chinese mainland (a sharp year-on-year rise of 55.8%), Indonesia (a year-on-year growth of 16.7%) and Taiwan (a year-on-year jump of 22.7%).
Because of substantial benefits of tire vendors, their enthusiasm for investment in the tire business was boosted greatly. When it comes to bidding dynamics in 2014, new projects and new capacities showed no less fever, with the estimated growth in all-steel tire capacity of 15 million units and in semi-steel tire capacity approximating 100 million units. As a result, China is expected to realize full-steel tire capacity 165 million units and semi-steel tire capacity roughly 600 million units by 2014 year-end when will witness further surplus of industrial structure and fiercer industrial competition.