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 Q2 2018
For the second quarter, supply in the Chinese market is poised to increase as the warming weather is expected to facilitate greater production. Transportation woes faced earlier during the harsh winter season are expected to ease following improved weather conditions. Meanwhile, supply conditions outside of China are likely to remain unchanged from the first quarter.
"Going into the second quarter, market players said that demand conditions are likely to remain unchanged. Most of these players added that there were limited market factors likely to impact demand significantly.
Meanwhile, most buyers were seeking to procure actively in the first quarter amid worries of limited spot availability, which led to some of these buyers currently sitting on ample inventories."
Q2 begins with balanced to snug market conditions. European supply has been healthy, although strong demand has added some pressure to supply levels. Supply is expected to remain balanced to snug as long as European production continues to run at a steady rate. Q2 is typically peak demand season, which may contribute to tighter market conditions.
Demand exceeded expectations during Q1 and as Q2 is traditionally peak demand season it is expected to increase further. Early orders for April were made in late March before Q2 contract negotiations began. Downstream demand has been particularly strong due to tightness in the derivatives gamma butyrolactone (GBL), n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). This is expected to continue in Q2.
Higher US BDO prices are at the top of the list for consideration in the second quarter this year, because of producer nominations proposed for 1 April. It would be the fourth double-digit increase in the past six quarters. If buyers accept all of the price increases proposed separately by BASF, LyondellBasell and Ashland, the hike could push BDO into the top half of the 10-year chart.
Buyers generally agree that some price increase is justified, though a few have questioned the magnitude of the hike, because major BDO feedstocks are flat or down this year. Butane, spot methanol and polymer-grade propylene (PGP) have declined during the quarter.
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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.