For the Quarter Ending June 2021
The supplies of n-Butanol (NBA) in the North American region remained tight in the second quarter of 2021, even though some easiness in the supply conditions was observed due to improved plant operating rates in Q2. The supply chain improved with the return of several producing belts online and n-Butanol enquiries were bolstered from the downstream paints and coatings manufacturing industries. Offtakes were exceptional from the derivatives such as Butyl Acetate while raw material Propylene continued to remain firm. Strong demand, which surpassed the regional supply capacity resulted in continuous up stride on the pricing trend with FOB Texas discussion in June settled at USD 2305 per tonne.
During the second quarter of 2021, supplies of n-Butanol (NBA) in the Asia Pacific region were tight owing to the reduced offtakes from the downstream manufacturing industries. The demand outlook in India was dented due to sudden rise in COVID cases which subdued the market activities. hence, the buyers were reluctant to procure the commodity amidst the hovering uncertainties throughout the first half of the quarter. China reported firm n-Butanol pricing due to tight Propylene market. While demand outlook is firmed from various downstream Butyl Acetate and paint and coating sector. The pricing trend in India slumped in the second quarter with Ex-Works Kandla (India) discussions were assessed at USD 2045 per tonne in June while FOB Qingdao (China) offers were prices at USD 2380 per tonne in mid-June. Longer lead times are further causing worries to the suppliers.
In the European region, n-Butanol (NBA) supplies were constrained during the first half of the quarter, as the major production plant of BASF (Germany) and Sasol were on a force majeure. Later, the condition improved alongside better import volumes from the US and Middle East. Demand was persistent from the downstream industries as accelerated vaccine roll outs, recovering downstream markets and public movement generated positive economic outlook. Therefore, n-Butanol offtakes were surged from the automotive and construction sector.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
During Q1 2021, n-Butanol supplies were tight, as mid-February freeze fallout in the US Gulf region triggered feedstock shortages which further concluded in steep surge in the prices of the product. The demand from the downstream automotive and construction coatings surged causing shortages in domestic supplies, hence the buyers diverted their attention towards imports from Asian countries. Translating the effects of transportation constraints and Propylene shortage, several manufacturers announced positive price correction during the quarter. OQ chemicals surged the prices of n-Butanol by USD 110 USD/MT in February for all its the March deliveries.
The supplies of n-Butanol were short in Q1 2021 owing to several plant shutdowns heard across the globe. During the middle of the quarter, the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays and decline in overseas imports propped up the regional NBA offers. In southeast Asia, BASF Petronas and Indonesia’s PT PON remained shut for maintenance. The demand stood healthy as the buyers sought for restocking activity due to buoyant demand for Butyl Acetate and Butyl Acrylate manufacturing. Combination of factors resulted in multi-fold surge in the prices of n-Butanol. CFR India prices gained by USD 880/ton in Q1-2021, whereas the CFR prices for March recorded at USD 2030/ton in India.
n-Butanol supplies in the European region remained tight during the first quarter of 2021, as the key producer BASF remained non-operational since the end of the second quarter. The supply shortness was further instigated by reduced imports from the US. Strong offtakes were reported from the downstream butyl acrylate manufacturing and several other paints and coatings manufacturer. Several manufacturers were heard operating at reduced run rates in the second half of the quarter due to tight propylene supply.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Asia’s n-Butanol market witnessed increasing demand from the downstream sectors during Q3 with import discussions gradually picking up particularly in northeast Asia. Growing economies such as China and India are adding up new capacities due to swelling n-Butanol demand for end-use applications such as manufacturing of butyl acetate, butyl acrylate, glycol ether, and direct solvents. However, the supply for n-Butanol remained tight during Q3 due to plant turnrounds observed in far east Asia. Producers in countries like China and Taiwan were heard operating at lower rates with minimum workforce which limited feedstock availability and hence irregular supply was witnessed in these regions. However, demand remained stable in China unlike others Asian counties in 2020 with large capacity additions and reduced export volumes.
The n-Butanol supply remained steady during the Q3 while the demand showed a marked uptrend as the offtakes from the downstream coatings and plasticizers gained momentum with trade volumes showing considerable month-on-month increase. While coronavirus restrictions eased early in the quarter, rising cases kept some limitations in place in the anticipated growth. Unplanned production issues prevailing on the feedstock front kept some run rates curtailed, creating uneven market recovery despite sturdy demand growth.
By the third quarter, n-Butanol demand regained the lost uptrend with consumers starting residential construction and resuming delayed downstream projects. On an average, volumes produced stayed below year-ago levels but improved on QoQ basis as coronavirus restrictions eased early in the period. Increased raw material prices and constrained availability due the product outages at several oxo-alcohol production facilities in early-August which were resolved by the first half of September kept the prices afloat. The US’ n-Butanol pricing graph showed an upward trend in October with prices assessed around USD 890 per tonne in September with producers targeting better margins in Q4.