US TPC downplays BD price slide, bullish for 2011

02 November 2010 17:00  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US butadiene (BD) producer TPC Group on Tuesday downplayed a recent slide in US BD prices, saying it expected tight crude C4 supply and firm demand to lift the market in 2011.

“The indicators are all positive at this point… [TPC] is well-positioned as we move into 2011,” said chief executive Charlie Shaver during a conference call with investors.

TPC said it expects BD prices to gain support from low availability of crude C4, citing the widespread use of light feedstocks in the olefins industry, a trend it said was likely to continue.

A surge in the price of natural rubber (NR) was also positive for BD, as that would increase demand for synthetic rubber of which BD is a key feedstock, the company said.

Shaver pointed to rising natural rubber prices in Asia and how that has lifted BD prices in the region.

TPC said it also expected overall demand for rubber to strengthen as global economic growth gradually improves.

The company on Tuesday posted first-quarter net income of $12.8m (€9.2m), more than triple the $3.7m for the same period a year earlier, but down by 11% from $14.4m in the immediately preceding quarter.

TPC attributed the increase from a year earlier to higher selling prices, while blaming the drop from the previous quarter on lower sales volume.

The company shrugged off a recent drop in US BD prices, saying the downtrend reflected isolated downstream outages and year-end inventory trimming.

US BD contracts in November dropped by 2 cents/lb to 84 cents/lb.

The drop was the third in a row as BD fell by 6 cents/lb in October, and September contracts were assessed 2 cents/lb lower.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: William Lemos
+1 713 525 2653



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