Asia PBT under pressure as demand eases ahead of China holiday

Author: Clive Ong

2020/09/23

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resins prices were under downward pressure this week as demand eased further ahead of China’s week-long holiday in October.

Buying momentum began to slow down in early September, after some pick-up in July and August, as users have accumulated stocks.

Spot prices of PBT dipped to $0.95-1.00/kg CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NE (northeast) Asia, ICIS data showed.

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“Demand continued to ease off in recent weeks and the market is soft,” said a supplier in Asia.

Offers for off-spec resins at $0.75-0.80/kg CIF China found lukewarm interest, with some buyers countering at around $0.60/kg CIF China.

“The automotive sector has quietened down again and PBT demand is weakening,” said a trader in China.

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.

The margins of PBT producers remained squeezed as values of feedstock purified terephthalate acid (PTA) values were largely stable while those of other raw material - butanediol (BD0) - trended higher recently.

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Some market participants expect a slower October market, with China off for holidays in the first half.

The Chinese markets will be closed from 1-8 October for the mid-autumn festival and National Day celebration.

Other PBT participants were less upbeat for the automotive sector amid rising US-China tensions and the resurgence of the coronavirus across some economies.

“Overall outlook is cloudy as trade can be easily slow if the US-China tensions worsen or a second wave infection comes,” a Singapore-based trader said.

Focus article by Clive Ong

Photo: Cars waiting to be exported at Lianyungang in China's Jiangsu province. 6 September 2020 (Source: Top Photo Corporation/Shutterstock)

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