Asia PBT stagnant as demand wobbles; US-China tensions weigh on sentiment

Author: Clive Ong


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Activity in Asia’s polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market remained tepid as recent escalation in tensions between the US and China dampened sentiment.

Flare-ups in coronavirus infections across a number of economies worldwide appeared to have clouded the demand outlook for PBT and its downstream automotive sector.

Spot PBT prices were hovering below $1.1/kg CIF (cost, insurance & freight) Asia, with off-spec resins changing hands at under $0.9/kg CIF Asia, ICIS data showed.

ICIS Editorial Chart goes here

“Demand for August and September seemed to have weakened after a positive May and June,” said a trader in China.

Some players attributed the apparent slowdown to the lack of follow through in demand improvement post easing of lockdowns in the second quarter.

With restrictions starting to be re-imposed for certain economies, production activity could start to taper off.

PBT, an engineering plastic, is a thermoplastic polyester resin used in the automotive industry for mirror housings, fans, fuse boxes, cowl vents, and motor and ignition system components. It also has uses in electrical and electronic products.

With the uneven recovery globally and the potential threats to demand rising, market players have become more cautious and downplayed the time needed for and strength of a rebound.

“Things are getting clouded with US-China tensions and a potential second wave infection in many economies,” said a trader in Singapore.

Focus article by Clive Ong

Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.

Visit the ICIS automotive topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news