Bitumen 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 Bitumen market, whether you buy or sell Bitumen 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
The Asian market for bitumen is estimated at 35-40m tonnes. China’s demand accounts for 20m tonne and the balance is traded throughout the region.
Most regional players buy as locally as possible, and arbitrage is rare. This is because shipping costs can make long distance trade uneconomic.
From a supply perspective, bitumen is sensitive to crude/fuel oil prices. Bitumen is the last component left in a barrel of refined oil, and many refineries have fuel oil/bitumen swing capabilities.
The demand side for bitumen is driven by budgets for large public works such as road building and construction.
Overall, Asia is largely balanced. In North East Asia, China has domestic capacity and imports mainly from South Korea, Thailand and Singapore.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam mainly import from Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.
Over the medium term, demand is likely to increase in most Asian countries, with China, India and Indonesia likely to see the greatest growth.
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Bitumen news and market information products from ICIS
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News & analysis
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Bitumen: Market overview
Asian bitumen price continued to drop amid bearish market from January to March. East China domestic price scaled down to Yuan 4,070-4,150/tonne, Yuan 340/tonne or 7.6% lower than 1 January. Singapore FOB price declined to US $525-530/tonne, US $45/tonne or 8.6% lower than1 January.
Most China players kept a pessimistic expectation on road construction due to slowdown economics in 2014. Fewer traders stored bitumen in the traditional winter-fill season from January to April. But bitumen supply remained relatively high to 5.1m tonnes, only 0.4m tonnes or 7.3% lower than those in 2013. The oversupply fundamental weighed on bitumen price.
Asian bitumen market was brought down by the China market, which accounted for half of total demand and two thirds of regional trading volume in Asia. Furthermore, other southeast Asian markets also faced weak demand season and Australian market weighed on oversupply for arbitrage cargoes from North America.
Asian bitumen market demand will remain low for the season in the second quarter. But current bitumen price is near to producer’s break-even point. Bitumen price is expected to be supported by rigid cost or reduced production.
Updated to mid-April 2014
News & analysis
Bitumen news & analysis
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Bitumen, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
Bitumen is a heavy, semi solid oil derivative that gradually softens when heated. There are different qualities of Bitumen which will vary according to the type of crude oil refined.
ICIS pricing focuses on Bitumen 60/70 rated according the penetration and softening point tests at 25 deg C.