Need new skins on your car? Better buy them quick, since prices have already gone up this year and will increase again next month. Goodyear, Bridgestone and Cooper have all announced October tire price increases, directly related to the supply of rubber available on the market.
Autoblog, via Bloomberg, tells us that there was surplus of 237,000 tons of natural rubber in 2009; this year, however, manufacturers are facing a shortage estimated to be around 60,000 tons. Raw material prices have already increased, and rubber hit a record price of $4.11 per kilogram this past April. It still remains unusually high, trading at $3.50 per kilo this week. Harvests of raw materials in Thailand, Indonesia and Russia have been impacted by both droughts and heavy rains, and the supply of rubber isn’t expected to improve for another two years or so.
Increased worldwide car sales have also impacted rubber availability and pricing, and automobile sales are projected to grow even more in 2011. As you’d expect, the shortage will have an impact on other rubber automobile components as well, including belts and hoses. Even household consumer goods are expected to go up in price in the coming months, so you’d better stock up on condoms and rubber gloves now.