The ICIS Butadiene report is published for Asia, Europe and the US, though the Crude C4s section is published only for Europe and the US.
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Butadiene C4s Overview
Butadiene is a gas and belongs to the olefin group of petrochemicals.
It is a very versatile raw material and is used to make synthetic rubbers, polymer resins and a wide variety of other chemical intermediates.
The largest uses for butadiene are as a feedstock for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and butadiene rubber (BR), both components in the tyre industry. It’s also used to make acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) which also has a wide variety of uses in the automotive sector amongst others.
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Butadiene - C4s: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2016
Butadiene (BD) spot prices in Asia are likely to rise in October, but it is unclear whether the upward price trend is sustainable. A supply crunch from a spate of unplanned outages and cracker shutdowns had driven prices up sharply to above $1,500/tonne CFR NE Asia in early October. It is however, unclear, whether the relentless upward price trajectory, which had registered a staggering 50% spike since early August, will continue, as the downstream synthetic rubber (SR) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prices are still lagging behind.
European butadiene supply and demand balance should lengthen during the fourth quarter as planned and unplanned outages come to an end. However, much will hinge on developments in Asia – if demand and pricing remains strong, any surplus European volumes will continue to head east and domestic customers will find themselves having to compete with Asia buyers. Domestic demand will reduce towards year-end but sources are hopeful of ongoing export opportunities for derivatives, notably synthetic rubber.
Very high prices in Asia are also impacting the US market, which is exporting over 10,000 tonnes of BD in mid-October, as traders take advantage of the arbitrage. Until this year, exports from the US seldom occur – maybe a couple of times a year. However, Asia prices have remained very high because of supply concerns, and the US supply has been mostly ample as the market is no longer structurally short. There is talk that some participants are working on another fixture for November. If successful, US supply will tighten considerably, keeping spot prices above contract levels. October contracts had increased by two cents/lb, and market participants are expecting another hike of several cents/lb for November.
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Butadiene/Crude C4 Methodology
About Butadiene - C4s
Butadiene is a colourless, non corrosive liquefied gas with a mild aromatic or gasoline-like odour. It is slightly soluble in water, more soluble in methanol and ethanol, and soluble in most common organic solvents such as acetone, ether, benzene, and cyclohexane. It readily polymerises in the presence of sodium or oxygen.
Butadiene is used to produce synthetic rubbers and polymer resins, as well as a few chemical intermediates. The largest uses are styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (BR), mostly used in tyres and automobiles.
The major source of butadiene is as a byproduct in the steam cracking of naphtha and gas oil to make ethylene and propylene. The butadiene is extracted from the C4 cracker stream using extractive distillation.
Other uses include acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins, styrene-butadiene latex and block copolymers, nitrile rubber, and adiponitrile (ADN).
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