ICIS publishes a Butanediol report for Asia, Europe and the US, though the Europe and US reports are combined as a global report.
Contract and spot price assessments are made by our locally based reporters, and market news and analysis, such as production, upstream/downstream activity and graphs, are all included when relevant. Our independent reports are an essential tool to help you make important commercial decisions.
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Butanediol: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
China BDO supply rose with the return of producers from shutdown maintenance and plant woes. For the rest of Asia, supply is poised to be unchanged in the third quarter. Producers are likely to maintain low operating rates amid increased production costs due to earlier gains in upstream product pricing.
In China, increasing supply of BDO is set to curtail cargo uptake from among regional makers, as buyers have held on firmly to lower workable buying indications and bids. Some buyers are understood to be sitting on ample inventories, leading to expectations of sluggish demand amid weak downstream sentiment.
Balanced-to-tight supply is expected to continue from Q2 into Q3 as healthy demand in the BDO market drives market dynamics. Sources had mixed views regarding the traditional summer lull in demand which usually takes place in August. Most players expect healthy demand to outweigh the usual effects of the summer period with BDO consumption and growth rates at a high this year. The annual summer shutdowns in the downstream markets are not expected to drastically change supply fundamentals.
Given the healthy demand already seen this year in the European butanediol (BDO) market, some players expect this to continue into Q3. However, others note that August may be slower with planned annual shutdowns in the downstream sectors, particularly in southern Europe. Whether or not the traditional summer lull in demand will be felt this year is yet to be seen.
Higher US butanediol (BDO) prices are at the top of the list for consideration in Q3, based on producer nominations proposed for 1 July. It would be the ninth quarterly increase in the past three years, the first coming in July 2016 and followed by a hike every quarter since then.
US butanediol (BDO) buyers do not think a Q3 hike is justified. Some say they might accept a small increase, but others are adamant that there is no support for it. Contract prices for two major BDO feedstocks – maleic anhydride and propylene – rose in June, while methanol contract prices remained flat.
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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.