Prior to this price hike, Yokohama had not raised OTR tire prices in close to five years, said director of OTR sales Tim Easter.

Several major tire manufacturers announced significant price increases in February, which will affect consumer and commercial tires, as well as off-the-road (OTR) tires used by most heavy mining equipment.

Yokohama Tire Corp. and Bridgestone announced a seven- and eight-per-cent increase on all tires, respectively, citing rising raw material prices and other costs related to freighting and overall operations. Numerous other manufacturers, including Michelin, Goodyear, Alliance Tire Group, Toyo Tires and Kumho Tire, also announced around the same time that they would raise prices.

“Yokohama hasn’t raised OTR tire prices in close to five years. In that timeframe, the cost of just about everything has gone up, including our base raw materials,” said Tim Easter, director of OTR sales for Yokohama. “We’ve reached a threshold where the effects of the rising costs of raw materials, freight and operations left us with no other option but to adjust our pricing to the market.”

Natural rubber prices reached a record low in January 2016, but began to spike in October, more than doubling in just a few months. The Association for Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) attributed the spike, and its expectation that prices will continue to increase in 2017, to weather problems affecting supply, pointing to floods in 12 southern Thailand provinces.

Rachel Withers, a spokesperson for Bridgestone, also noted a significant increase in the price of butadiene, an essential feedstock used in the production of synthetic rubber.