US BD October contract goes down to the final hour

27 September 2013 21:40  [Source: ICIS news]

BD October contract goes down to the final hourHOUSTON (ICIS)--With just one business day left in the month, the US butadiene (BD) October contract remains unsettled as producers struggle to set prices for the coming month amid a sharp downturn in demand from the replacement tyre market, sources said on Friday.

So far, three producers have nominated prices. Two are proposing a 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne, €33/tonne) price hike, while a third producer is proposing a 6 cents/lb increase for October, sources said. A fourth producer, as of late in the day on Friday, had yet to nominate.

Market sources said that it will probably be Monday before all contract prices for the upcoming month are settled. Most market participants expect the October BD contract to rise by 2-3 cents/lb.

September was the second month in a row that the US BD market reached a split settlement on the monthly contract. The average weighted price for the September contract is 43.02 cents/lb, up about one-half cent from a weighted average price in August of 42.58 cents/lb.

The primary argument for producers raising prices, sources said, is the recent run up in prices in Asia. BD spot prices rose in Asia this week because of increased Chinese buying interest and limited spot availability. Supply is tighter than expected because of the delay in the start-ups of BD units in China, Indonesia and Taiwan.

But domestic buyers are pushing back, saying that the Asian prices are unsustainable given the forecast for fundamental long-term weak demand from the replacement tyre market, BD's most important downstream outlet.

Major US producers of BD include ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, Shell and TPC Group.

($1 = €0.74) 

Author: Mark Yost

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