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 Q1 2019
Supply in China rose in Q1 2019 as some local producers had resumed their normal production after plant turnarounds in January and February. Producers in Asia outside China were mostly running their plants at high rates as they were under less cost pressure compared to the prior quarter due to the retreat in prices of alternate feedstock butadiene (BD), propylene, propylene oxide (PO) and maleic anhydride (MA) amid poor market sentiment.
Overall demand was sluggish in January and first-half February due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Buying activity subsequently picked up in March after the holidays but demand from the key downstream sectors such as polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) were weaker as compared to previous years at this time of the year.
European butanediol (BDO) supply conditions were balanced-to-long as the year began, with activity slow after the Christmas period. Demand picked up slightly as the quarter progressed, however lengthy global supply conditions continued to exert pressure on the European market. Q1 ended with ample supply and a lacklustre buying appetite.
European (BDO demand was slow in January and picked up gradually in February. However, buyers took a wait-and-see approach to the market due to low demand from the automotive sector. BDO demand was unable to meet the ample supply conditions from both domestic and overseas suppliers.
No price increases were nominated in the first three months of 2019 in the US butanediol (BDO) market, which at the very least shows a lack of production issues. The cost of production also has been reduced, with major feedstocks either flat or down, with both maleic anhydride (MA) and methanol contracts rolling over in the latest month. Propylene, a BDO feedstock for one producer, has continued to fall as the US market is expected to remain long for the near-term.
BDO demand has remained stable, in sync with a generally healthy US economy. The appeal of the fashion sector and specifically the yarn-apparel business prompted Shandong Ruyi, China’s largest textile producer, to buy US-based INVISTA’s apparel business for $2bn, in a deal that closed in late February after much holdup because of the US-China trade dispute. The acquistion brought a new name into the US BDO market, The Lycra Company.
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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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