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PBT Enters March 2024 on a Softer Note in the US and Asia
PBT Enters March 2024 on a Softer Note in the US and Asia

PBT Enters March 2024 on a Softer Note in the US and Asia

  • 15-Mar-2024 4:51 PM
  • Journalist: Sasha Fernandes

The PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) prices continued a declining trend in the week ending March 15, 2024, in the US and Asian markets, as the PBT market witnessed a downtrend since the start of this month, amidst consistent lowered feedstock PTA prices and ample stock availability in the Chinese market. Despite a slight improvement in demand fundamentals in the downstream home appliance industry in the region, it was not sufficient to drive up PBT prices during this period.

Presently, the feedstock PTA prices in the Chinese market have decreased by 2.4%, alleviating cost pressures on PBT enterprises this week. The Chinese Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, recorded at 49.1% for February 2024 by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, has been supported by consumer demand following the Chinese New Year holidays. Many PBT players in Asia and Southeast Asia encountered a sluggish downstream demand environment, serving as a counterbalance to slightly elevated production costs. The post-holiday recovery in domestic demand has been sluggish, fostering a subdued trading atmosphere. Asian sellers are hopeful that buying interest will improve in March and April as the peak season approaches. Looking ahead, players anticipate PBT prices to mirror trends observed in the upstream markets.

 In summary, the Asian PBT upstream materials exhibited a relatively low price trend, bolstering the downward cost side in the first half of March 2024. Decreased operations at petrochemical plants have eased supply constraints. However, the delayed resumption of work by downstream enterprises and the practice of offering discounts in response to increased merchant offers suggest a less optimistic short-term PBT demand outlook.

In the USA, the PBT prices exhibited a slightly declining trend recently, as the upstream crude oil prices experienced a minor dip along with ample availability of stocks. Brent crude oil futures for May dropped by 41 cents, equivalent to 0.5%, reaching USD 85.01 per barrel, following their breach of the USD 85/bbl mark for the first time since November on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April also dipped, falling by 32 cents, or 0.4%, to USD 80.94/bbl. Additionally, the PBT exported quantity in December 2023 declined by 19.8% and continued to depreciate in the two consecutive months of 2024 as well as a ripple effect led to the ample stock availability.

As per ChemAnalyst, the PBT prices in the US and Asia are expected to increase in March 2024, as an elevation in the upstream crude oil prices is likely to impact the production costs of the product. Moreover, the feedstock Butanediol price trend is likely to elevate the cost pressure on the PBT enterprises in the coming weeks.

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