30 August 2013 09:42 [Source: ICB]
Imports of butanediol (BDO) into the EU from the rest of the world more than doubled in the first six months of this year compared with the same period of 2012, according to new Eurostat data.
Market sources said the increase in imports came as European buyers took advantage of low prices of BDO in Asia in the early part of 2013. From January to June this year, the EU imported 27,090 tonnes of BDO, up from 11,627 tonnes imported in the first half of 2012.
In the first half of this year, average monthly contract prices of BDO in Taiwan ranged from $1,999/tonne (€1,499/tonne) to $2,156/tonne. In Europe, the average contract price of BDO was higher, at $2,752/tonne in the first quarter and $2,738/tonne in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, exports from the EU to the rest of the world dropped 2.7% in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2012. The EU exported 25,096 tonnes of BDO from January to June 2013, lower than the 25,794 tonnes exported in the first half of last year. "The reason behind the rise in imports (to Europe) and the fall in exports is the same - prices are cheaper in Asia," a producer said.
The producer added that European buyers wanted to take advantage of the price difference and therefore they bought cheaper BDO from Asia, and also from the Middle East.
The producer said less BDO was sold in Asia because profit margins became less attractive as Asian BDO prices fell.
A buyer that imports BDO from Asia said that other consumers increased the number of imports from Asia. However, its own imports remained the same as the first half of last year to the first half of this year, the buyer said.
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