ICIS price assessments for butadiene (BD)/crude C4 are widely used by market players in contract and trade deals.
If you’re looking for a 360° perspective of the global BD/C4 markets, 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, ensuring you are able to evaluate the industry from every angle.
Updated to Q4 2020
Supply eased in Q4 2020 due to the start-up of new BD plants in China, which saw China-origin BD being exported during this period. The resumption of BD production at Lotte Chemical in South Korea in early December further eased supply. Lotte Chemical shut down its 150,000 tonne/year BD plant in Daesan following a fire in March 2020. The arrival of deep-sea cargoes from Europe during the quarter further eased supply.
Demand was robust in Q4 2020 as downstream synthetic rubber (SR) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plants were mostly running at increased rates to meet growing end-user demand. The automotive industry rebounded in Asia, while strong global demand for household goods amid the shift to working from home, saw the respective SR and ABS plants in Asia running at near full rates during the quarter.
Supply was well-balanced to tight during Q4. A succession of cracker hiccups limited crude C4 feedstock to some extent amid some longer-term BD unit outages. Naphtha was the preferred feedstock and crackers were incentivised to run as hard as possible as demand for cracker co-products ethylene and propylene was much stronger than anticipated for the period.
Demand was unseasonably healthy during Q4. Domestic demand was boosted by increased export opportunities following supply restrictions and a spike in costs in Asia and the US. The same spike in costs saw demand for volumes to export increase and strong competition amongst traders helped to ramp up European spot prices.
US Q4 BD supply increased with increasing industry operating rates following the onset of the coronavirus earlier in the year on top of numerous unplanned outages in Q3. Cracker operating rates increased throughout the quarter. BASF Total restarted its US Port Arthur, Texas, cracker and associated BD unit in late October following an unplanned outage in June. Supply also increased as producers separately lifted sales allocations associated with pipeline issues and other supply chain disruptions throughout the quarter.
Demand increased during the typical destocking season as downstream demand rebounded and recovered from the onset of the pandemic earlier in the year and hurricane-related disruptions in Q3. Automotive demand began steadily recovering from around September, increasing demand for downstream nylon and SBR. Downstream producers steadily increased operating rates following the storm-related disruptions in Q3 as BD supply constraints slowly eased against the backdrop of rebounding automotive 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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