Price and market trends: US BDO producers unveil price hikes

17 March 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US producers are seeking price increases for butanediol (BDO) and derivaties to offset higher feedstock costs.

LyondellBasell will increase US off-list prices for 1,4 BDO and derivative products effective 1 April, according to information obtained on 5 March.

Prices of 1,4 BDO and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) will go up by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne), while prices of tetrahydrofuran (THF) and polymeg polytetramethylene ether glycols (PTMEG) will increase by 7 cents/lb, the company said.

us bdo

Other US producers had similar announcements intended to shore up margins with the Q2 contract settlement. However, buyers said that US demand is currently flat for most, suggesting that passing along the extra costs will not be easy.

In addition, many said that US supply seems to be increasing as one producer is more 
aggressively offering product to the market.

ASIA GEARING UP EXPORTS

In addition, players in Asia, where values for BDO are lower, are gearing up to export BDO products to western Europe and/or the US, seeking to increase their production rates to levels more efficient than their current 55-57%. If this materialises, the price of US BDO and its derivatives will be under pressure from the additional volumes.

Ashland is increasing prices for BDO and downstream solvent derivatives sold in North America effective on 1 April or as contracts allow, the company said on 3 March. Prices for BDO and its downstream solvent derivatives will increase by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne). With the measure, the producer is seeking to offset increases in feedstock costs.

BDO contracts in the US have declined with every quarterly settlement in the last year, and only in the first quarter of 2014, BDO contract prices stopped falling, albeit without any gains.

Higher crude oil prices are again threatening to reduce margins.

BASF TO RAISE PRICES

BASF announced that, effective immediately or as existing contracts permit, it will increase sale prices for North America BDO and its derivatives.

BDO, n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), n-ethylpyrrolidone (NEP) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) will have a price increase of 5 cents/lb and derivatives such as tetrahydrofuran (THF) and polytetramethylene ether glycol will each have a 7 cent/lb increase.

By George Martin