Butanediol Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Butanediol market, whether you buy or sell Butanediol or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the news and analysis that put the market into focus, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
Our editor gives their expert view
Butanediol Overview Transcript
Butanediol or BDO is an intermediate product, a colourless and almost odourless viscous liquid.
Around 32% of BDO production goes into engineering thermoplastic PBT, with another 32% going to the manufacture of tetrahydrofuran which is used to make Lycra or spandex.
It is used industrially as a solvent and in the manufacture of some types of plastics and polyurethanes. It ultimately goes into textiles, clothing items items and footwear such as running shoes.
BDO feedstocks are acetylene and formaldyhide, butane via maleic anhydride, butadiene, and propylene oxide.
Around two thirds of the BDO market is captive and more than half off the remaining third is tied up in long-term contracts.
Global demand and pricing is driven by the key Asian market. European pricing has recently reached record levels.
As this is a volatile industry, our readers rely on ICIS four our impartial and accurate reporting.
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Butanediol: Market overview
The North American and European butanediol (BDO) markets are relatively steady in 2013 but the product has seen slight decreases in contract prices in the second and third quarters of the year.
This is partly because of pressure from increasing and cheaper production from Asia, and the forthcoming competition from bio-based BDO.
In the US, the BDO market received a boost from a healthier automotive manufacturing sector that is now producing cars at rates compatible with pre-recession 2007 figures. US producers are targeting a rollover for fourth-quarter contracts.
In Europe, there are expectations that demand in the fourth quarter will be broadly similar to the third quarter. A fourth-quarter recovery from the summer holiday plant shutdowns will be tempered by fewer working days and destocking in December.
In Asia, market players expect the stability of BDO prices to continue. Despite the volatility in the prices of feedstocks, producers are keeping their prices steady to maintain margins. They cannot increase prices drastically because the market is oversupplied.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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Butanediol (BDO) is a colourless and almost odourless viscous liquid. This hygroscopic diol is soluble in water, alcohols, esters, ketones, glycol ethers and glycol ether acetates; immiscible in aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and diethylether.
BDO is a chemical intermediate used in the production of polymers, solvents and fine chemicals.
The largest consumer is tetrahydrofuran (THF), used to make polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG) which goes into spandex fibres, urethane elastomers and copolyester ethers. The next largest outlet is polybutylene terephthalate (PBT).
Sizeable quantities of BDO go into the manufacture of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), which has outlets in electronics and high-performance polymers.