US Sept BD contract settles at split again, range 40-44 cents/lb

30 August 2013 16:24  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US September butadiene (BD) monthly contract has resulted in a split settlement for the second month in a row, sources said Friday.  

Among the three producers that account for about 85% of the market, one producer is at 40 cents/lb ($882/tonne, €670/tonne) and two producers are at 44 cents/lb. A fourth producer, which accounts for about 15% of the market, is at 47 cents/lb.

Based on those prices, the monthly contract range among the three biggest producers is 40-44 cents/lb, compared with 40-46 cents/lb in August.

The last time the monthly BD contract was in the 40 cents/lb range was July 2009, when it was 45 cents/lb. The lowest monthly contract price in the past five years was 25 cents/lb in March and April 2009.

The US BD monthly contract price began the year at 76 cents/lb, rose to 84 cents/lb in March and April, and has spiraled downward ever since. At the start of the year, sources had expected US BD to rise through the year and eventually reach more than $1/lb. But demand for replacement tyres, which account for about 80% of global tyre sales, has dwindled, driving down the price of BD and the other key tyre raw material, styrene-butadiene-rubber. In July, Goodyear reported that it sold 1.6m fewer tyres in the first six months of 2013 than the year ago period. Most market participants don't expect the replacement-tyre market to recover before the second quarter of 2014.

Major US producers of BD include ExxonMobil, LyondellBassel, Shell and Texas Petrochemical.

($1 = €0.76)  

Author: Mark Yost

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