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 Q4 2019
Asia supply was mixed in Q4 2019. Regional supply was ample but a disruption in deep-sea supply led to a sudden crunch in spot availability. An explosion at TPC’s BD facility at Port Neches in the US disrupted the delivery of more than 10,000 tonnes of BD that were expected to be shipped from the US to Asia in December. Regional suppliers were able to meet the crunch by issuing sales tenders.
Demand for butadiene in Asia was firm in the fourth quarter of 2019 because of restocking ahead of the year-end lull and the Lunar New Year, which falls on 25 January in 2020. The downstream synthetic rubber makers sought to procure spot product to cover their forward requirements due to a heavy spate of turnarounds in the first quarter of 2020. Ample spot availability and weak BD prices attracted spot appetite towards the end of the year.
European butadiene (BD) output was constrained by planned and unplanned outages, and other producers tailored production very closely to demand levels, so overall, the market was balanced to long. As planned turnarounds were completed, export interest picked up. An outage at a major US producer helped buoy the market moving towards the year-end.
Domestic demand was largely steady but still below expectations for most of the quarter, although the usual working tax capital considerations saw demand drop off more significantly in December. A major BD consumer was offline for most of the quarter. Export activities picked up compared with the previous quarter but prices were low.
US supply tightened in the fourth quarter as an explosion at TPC Group’s Port Neches, Texas site shut down operations on 27 November. The event compromised stored material and halted the ability to send butadiene (BD) to consumers from the site. The site has 426,000 tonnes/year capacity, which accounts for 16.4% of US production capacity, but it is unclear what utilisation at the site was at the time of the explosion. Consumers could secure needed supply through Q4.
US demand was reduced in the fourth quarter on a typical seasonal lull. Most consumers aimed to keep leaner inventories at the year’s end. In addition, demand was soft amid continued underperformance of the global automotive sector. Buyers were largely covered through their contractual volumes or less. Sluggish demand offset immediate supply impacts of the outage at TPC Group’s Port Neches, Texas site.
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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