ICIS price assessments for butadiene (BD)/crude C4 are widely used by market players in contract and trade deals.
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Updated to Q2 2020
Supply was ample in Q2 due to the influx of deep-sea cargoes from Europe, Brazil, the Middle East and the US. The drop in demand in Europe and the US from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic freed up surplus BD stocks from these regions and led suppliers to eye sales in Asia.
Demand remained weak during this period due to the lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of the virus in the region. Most downstream synthetic rubber plants in Asia were running at reduced rates. Although China reopened its economy earlier than other countries due to the success of its earlier stringent lockdown measures, demand in other parts of Asia remained sluggish as lockdown measures were applied largely across Asia in Q2.
Supply was very long in the first half of Q2. This led to considerable exports at very low prices which were made more workable in margin terms due to low oil and feedstock values. With demand impacted by the coronavirus disruption to the automotive sector, BD producers mitigated this by implementing rate cuts at crackers and extraction units and the alternative processing of crude C4.
Demand was very poor in Q2, largely because of BD’s high exposure to the automotive sector. Some synthetic rubber operations were shut completely, while others were significantly reduced. Other BD derivatives such as ABS fared slightly better, while those used in packaging and some construction held up.
BD markets were oversupplied in Q2 as coronavirus-related closures sidelined consumption. The TPC outage and related logistics issues that tightened the US market had no impact in Q2 as downstream rubber producers were not running. BD producers turned to co-cracking and hydrotreating to manage excess crude C4 as extracting BD was not economical. Cracker operators shifted towards higher usage of ethane in the feedslate in the interest of limiting CC4.
Demand was sidelined in Q2 by coronavirus-related closures. Automakers shut production and tyre producers followed suit for up to two months. With synthetic rubber accounting for 80% of BD demand, the impact was massive. Any downstream plants that remained operating ran at significantly reduced rates. Asia was the only outlet for moving material and thousands of tonnes of BD were booked for export.
Whether you are buying or selling, our short-to-long term solutions – from pricing data, breaking news and market analysis, to supply and demand forecasts – will power your decision-making process by bringing clarity through data and ensuring you are able to evaluate the global butadiene market from every angle.
Key trading prices and activities – Spot, contract and domestic prices. Offers, bids and transactions of butadiene and crude/C4
Price alerts and market updates: Shifts in prices, the latest news, market developments and changes in regulations and demand trends
Plant data: Production and capacity, plant maintenance and shutdowns
Feedstock: Prices and market updates for naphtha
Historical prices: Download and/or chart pricing from as far back as the start of ICIS coverage
Weekly market outlook: Overview and outlook for the overall regional butadiene market, including a brief commentary on the related regional markets
Supply and demand: Analysis of domestic and international supply and demand
Regional coverage: Asia-Pacific, China, Europe and the US
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Butadiene is a colourless, non-corrosive liquefied gas with a mild aromatic or gasoline-like odour. It is slightly soluble in water, more soluble in methanol and ethanol, and soluble in most common organic solvents such as acetone, ether, benzene, and cyclohexane. It readily polymerises in the presence of sodium or oxygen.
Butadiene is used to produce synthetic rubbers and polymer resins, as well as a few chemical intermediates. The largest uses are styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (BR), mostly used in tyres and automobiles.
The major source of butadiene is as a byproduct in the steam cracking of naphtha and gas oil to make ethylene and propylene. The butadiene is extracted from the C4 cracker stream using extractive distillation.
Other uses include acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins, styrene-butadiene latex and block copolymers, nitrile rubber, and adiponitrile (ADN)
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