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China n-Butanol Market Surges in December, Fire at Qilu Petrochemical Adds Fuel
China n-Butanol Market Surges in December, Fire at Qilu Petrochemical Adds Fuel

China n-Butanol Market Surges in December, Fire at Qilu Petrochemical Adds Fuel

  • 29-Dec-2023 3:55 PM
  • Journalist: Nina Jiang

The n-butanol market in China has rebounded during December 2023, compared with the previous month in terms of demand as well as trading atmosphere. The 2023 year is nearing its end, but the n-butanol market in China's Shandong Province is showing no signs of a slowdown. December witnessed a remarkable surge in n-butanol prices, fueled by a confluence of factors that tightened supply and created a bullish sentiment. Moreover, the recent fire incident at Qilu Petrochemical added a layer of uncertainty and potential for further price hikes in the n-butanol market.

As per the recent assessment, December saw a notable reduction in the overall n-butanol supply in the region which has shoot up the prices to reach the heights from 1120 USD/tonne on 1st December 2023 to 1250 USD/tonne n-butanol EX-Shandong assessed on 22nd December 2023.  Planned maintenance shutdowns at several n-butanol plants across China curtailed production, leading to a tighter spot market and limited availability. This scenario put upward pressure on existing stocks, creating an environment for price adjustments. In terms of demand, as temperatures dipped in December, n-butanol requirement, particularly from downstream sectors, received a welcome boost. Logistics and transportation faced challenges due to weather conditions, prompting many downstream players to stock up on n-butanol in anticipation of further disruptions. This proactive stocking behavior further tightened supply and fueled the upward price trajectory. The overall trading atmosphere in the n-butanol market remained healthy throughout December. Several enterprises gained confidence, fueled by the positive supply-demand dynamics during this timeframe.

Surprisingly, On December 23rd, a fire at Qilu Petrochemical's olefins plant created pressure on the already volatile market. Qilu Petrochemical is a major player in the Linzi District, Zibo City, Shandong Province having significant production capacities for ethylene, propylene, and downstream products like butanol having a naphtha cracking and catalytic cracking unit propylene production capacity of more than 165,000 tons/year, and its downstream supporting facilities include 70,000 tons/year polypropylene and 305,000 tons/year butyl-octanol. The fire incident resulted in the shutdown of their 480,000 tons/year naphtha cracking unit and downstream supporting polypropylene units, while their butanol unit is operating at reduced capacity. Due to the underlined situation, ChemAnalyst predicts having a significant impact on the n-butanol market due to the Qilu Petrochemical fire in the coming weeks and potentially throughout January 2023. With a major source of supply temporarily offline, the already tight market will likely face further pressure, leading to potential price increases. The extent of the impact will depend on the duration of the shutdown and the speed at which Qilu Petrochemical resumes full operations.

 

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