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Updated to Q2 2017
Upstream butanediol (BDO) tightness was a significant driver behind the polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market during the second quarter of this year.
PBT contract discussions were delayed in some cases until after the second quarter BDO contract settled, which it did at an increase of €200/tonne in mid-April. The BDO spot market was particularly tight, forcing PBT producers to make use of contracted volumes and imported material in order to maintain their feedstock supply.
Second quarter PBT contracts settled in early May at increases of €0.09/kg for flame-retardant material and €0.10/kg for filled and unfilled grades. In addition to increased BDO costs, this was driven by a global tightening of supply and solid demand.
Demand continued to be strong throughout the quarter and was said to be better this year than in 2016. Demand was particularly strong from the automotive and construction sectors.
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Polybutylene terephthalate or PBT is a semi-crystalline, white or off-white polyester similar in both composition and properties to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It has slightly lower strength and stiffness than PET. PBT is softer, but it has higher impact strength and very similar chemical resistance. It is usually preferred for industrial scale moulding due to quicker crystallising. It is widely used in electronic, electrical, communications, fibre optics and automotive industries.