The Butyl Acetate reports are published weekly in Asia, Europe and the US, providing independent, unbiased pricing assessments, news and analysis.
This invaluable market intelligence is collated by our locally based reporters and includes spot prices, domestic and contract prices where applicable, upstream movements, feedstock news and graphs. We provide the tools you need to make informed and confident commercial decisions.
Updated to Q1 2020
Asia Pacific butyl acetate (butac) supply was ample, particularly in China during the later part of the first quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic. Logistical problems earlier following the outbreak had chipped away at demand, with several butac plants’ operating rates kept low or remaining shut amid the bearish market conditions. Increased supply availability prompted suppliers in China to scale back on spot cargo asking levels in order to encourage demand.
Demand tapering off towards the end of the first quarter generated downward pressure on spot prices of butac. The crash in upstream markets and global crude oil prices weighed on market sentiment. Buying impetus was mostly cautious as market participants refrained from accumulating inventories amid uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Demand appetite for imports weakened towards the end of the first quarter following country lockdowns in the Asia Pacific region.
Supply tightened in February on limitations at producer Oxea. A fire at an upstream synthesis gas unit caused the shutdown of its oxo-alcohols unit and a force majeure declaration on feedstock n-butanol (NBA). However, low demand and structural length limited the disruption’s impact and supply returned to a balanced condition by the end of the quarter.
Demand was quiet throughout Q1, although this was widely expected. Demand increased in February following Oxea’s upstream outage. Sources attributed this to additional enquiries from buyers who typically secure material from Oxea rather than an increase in consumption. As limitations on availability eased in March, demand returned to a quiet condition.
US Q1 2020 supply of butyl acetate (butac), a solvent used in paint and coatings, was broadly balanced with demand even as some stronger buying interest emerged late in the period. The rise in demand was attributed at least partly to pre-buying ahead of future supply concerns stemming from the coronavirus. Although upstream propylene continued flat to weaker throughout the period, butac demand helped hold the free-market butac contract range flat after a dip in January.
Demand for US butac was largely steady through the first two months of the first quarter of 2020 on typical seasonality, but buying interest gained momentum during March as the coronavirus continued to spread throughout the US. Some pre-buying also contributed to stronger demand in March as the outlook for spring began to worsen on stay-at-home constraints that prompted halts in automobile production, and as paint-contracting jobs were cancelled in March.
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A colourless flammable liquid with a fruity odour, butyl acetate is produced by the esterification of acetic acid using butanol in the presence of a catalyst such as sulphuric acid.
Butyl acetate is a colourless liquid with a fruity banana odour that is commonly used as a solvent in the production of lacquers, inks and adhesives. It is highly flammable and miscible with common organic solvents such as alcohols, ketones, glycols and esters.
Butyl acetate is mainly used as a solvent in the production of paints and lacquers, inks, adhesives and hardened coatings. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a solvent and extraction agent, and used to purify penicillin.
Other uses include cosmetics and personal care products, fragrance solvent for perfumes, cleaning and car care products.
The main process for the manufacture of butyl acetate involves the esterification of butanol and acetic acid in the presence of a catalyst such as sulphuric acid.
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