ICIS publishes a Butanediol report for Asia, Europe and the US, though the Europe and US reports are combined as a global report.
Contract and spot price assessments are made by our locally based reporters, and market news and analysis, such as production, upstream/downstream activity and graphs, are all included when relevant. Our independent reports are an essential tool to help you make important commercial decisions.
Updated to Q2 2020
Output in China was sharply reduced in June as plants kicked off turnarounds. Some producers shut their plants down for maintenance as inventories were elevated and margins squeezed. Overall supply in China was therefore sharply reduced, which helped the market stabilise. Suppliers mostly still have ample stocks to work through, but were not keen to reduce prices further.
Demand remained weak in Q2 as economies locked down to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Supply chains were upended with demand slumping for most of the quarter. Some economies exited their lockdowns in the later part of the quarter, but with supply chains not fully recovered, demand has remained in a low ebb.
Supply was balanced in April but lengthened during the quarter and reached a long condition in June. Sources referred to limited imports of material from Asia and reduced operating rates at European producers, but supply was more than sufficient due to limited demand.
Demand was weak for much of the quarter, largely due to the impact of the pandemic on the automotive industry. Consumption of derivatives that are largely used in the automotive sector, such as polyurethanes and PBT, were most severely impacted. Solvent applications, such as THF and GBL, have been relatively unaffected.
BDO supply was sufficient to meet demand, which started March at relatively strong levels but quickly deteriorated amid coronavirus-related lockdowns. No supply constraints were seen.
Construction projects were largely postponed or cancelled and automotive production halted for two months, limiting demand in two key sectors for BDO. Downstream polyester polyols were among the hardest-hit segments with the economic slowdown. End-uses into consumer electronics and medical devices saw very strong demand, but less-essential products such as textiles experienced significant dropoffs.
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1,4-Butanediol (BDO) is an intermediate product; a colourless and almost odourless viscous liquid.
Butanediol (BDO) is a colourless and almost odourless viscous liquid. This hygroscopic diol is soluble in water, alcohols, esters, ketones, glycol ethers and glycol ether acetates; immiscible in aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and diethylether.
BDO is a chemical intermediate used in the production of polymers, solvents and fine chemicals.
The largest consumer is tetrahydrofuran (THF), used to make polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG) which goes into spandex fibres, urethane elastomers and copolyester ethers. The next largest outlet is polybutylene terephthalate (PBT).
Sizeable quantities of BDO go into the manufacture of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), which has outlets in electronics and high-performance polymers.
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