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 Q3 2019
The tight supply situation for butadiene (BD) eased in the third quarter of 2019 due to ample deep-sea supply. More than 40,000 tonnes of BD from Europe, the Middle East and Latin America headed to Asia, providing relief to the tighter-than-expected market. Unplanned outages and several major crackers in Asia were shut during the third quarter, including Chandra Asri in Indonesia and Formosa Petrochemical Corp in Taiwan.
Demand for BD in Asia remained soft in the third quarter because of weak sentiment and the poor downstream synthetic rubber (SR) market. Declining automotive sales in China, a protracted US-China trade war and slowing global economic growth weighed on the demand for SR. This, in turn, curbed spot appetite for BD as the downstream SR plants were mostly running at lower rates, given the uncertain outlook.
Butadiene (BD) supply was fairly well-balanced throughout the third quarter. There were some delayed restarts and some unplanned outages at crackers and BD units which counteracted the impact of soft demand. Light feedstock cracking has also been a constraint on output.
Butadiene demand remained below expectations in the third quarter and was particularly slower than usual during the July and August summer months. A major consumer began its downtime in September, while other consumers experienced some hiccups earlier.
US butadiene (BD) supply tightened during Q3. A fire broke out at producer ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas olefins site, shutting down the cracker directly affected and reducing rates at other crackers for two months. The outage reduced the supply of feedstock crude C4 (CC4), so the company’s BD unit was also offline, according to sources. Despite an outage at a major producer, US supply was readily available. The greater use of LPG in cracker feedslates supported supply.
US butadiene (BD) demand was steady during Q3, although it was largely below expectations for most downstream sectors during the year. The largest downstream sector – rubber for tyre manufacture – did not see strong demand in 2019. Most US buyers of BD required contract volumes or less. ExxonMobil’s outage at Baytown, Texas in Q3 did not tighten the market, as US volumes were sufficient to satisfy soft demand.
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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