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“The worst I have ever seen . . .”

That’s a carbon black supplier’s assessment of the current US market.

In another sign of uncertainty, tire companies are delaying finalizing their annual supply contracts with raw material suppliers for their North and South American plants. Most other years, contracts have already been locked down by Thanksgiving. This year, I am hearing that contracts may not be finalized until late December or even into January. This makes it tougher for raw material suppliers to determine what next quarter (and next year) will look like. But across the board, I am hearing that volumes will be down significantly.

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