For the Quarter Ending September 2023
The n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices surged in the North American region and increased by 10% during the Q3 of 2023 amid moderate demand and supply dynamics. Initially, producers kept their operational rates moderately low due to escalation in feedstock prices amid hike in bank interest rates by Federal Reserve Bank, which impacted the supply rates in the market. During the mid-quarter, prices were firm amid affected supply rates from suppliers. The shipping and freight routes were affected amid the decline in Mississippi and Ohio river water levels and delayed shipping routes activities through Panama Canal. Meanwhile, the hike in bank interest rates by Federal Reserve Bank to cool down the rising inflation impacted the demand from buyers, causing a slowdown in economic growth of the region. Then, towards the end of Q3, prices inclined again amid stressed production rates due to limited availability of feedstock Butadiene supplies because of upstream Crude Oil production cuts by OPEC+ and Russia. Conclusively, at the end of Q3 of 2023, n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices in the USA witnessed USD 1178/MT.
Like the North American region, the n-Butylene and Isobutylene price remained firm in the Asian region during the 3rd quarter of 2023. At the beginning of the quarter, supply rates were inadequate amid steady demand from Butyl rubber manufacturers amid consistent demand from downstream synthetic rubber industries. During the mid-quarter, price trend remained firm due to moderate demand-supply dynamics amid storms and typhoons like Doksuri, Saola and heavy rainfall in the region. Simultaneously, the upstream Ethylene cash margins in the Northeast Asian countries fluctuating below zero, instigated and upheld by the economic slowdown along with geopolitical differences amongst the nations. Towards the end of the quarter, prices rose again due to moderate production rates amid stressed availability of feedstock supplies. The Crude Oil production cuts by OPEC+ and Russia limited the feedstock Ethylene availability. The supply rates limited from Japan and South Korea amid increased procurement activities before the Autumnal Equinox Holiday and Chuseok Holidays. At the end of Q3, 2023, n-Butylene and Isobutylene in China witnessed USD 1331/MT.
The n-Butylene and Isobutylene price trend showcased bullish movement in Europe during the Q3 of 2023, and prices inclined by almost 9% during the quarter. The Eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index dropped gradually during the 3rd quarter, indicating contractions in manufacturing sector activities during summer holidays in the region and decline in procurement activities from downstream buyers. Simultaneously, the production rates were low throughout the Q3 amid high input prices. However, demand was moderately low from the Polyisobutylene industries amid decline in retail sector sales during the mid-quarter. At the same time, cost support was high on upstream Ethylene due to escalation in Brent Crude Oil prices amid stressed Crude Oil stocks due to production cuts by global refineries. It raised the product prices again towards the end of the quarter. The inquiries were stable from the Butyl Rubber manufacturers amid incline in electric Car sales index during September. At the end of the quarter, n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices in Germany hovered at USD 1215/MT.
For the Quarter Ending June 2023
The n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices showcased bearish sentiments during the Quarter 2 of 2023. The prices fell consistently amid the decline in demand from downstream industries and contraction in manufacturing sector activities. Initially, the supplies were firm, and the production rates were moderate amid increased labor costs and shortages of labor due to the rise in recession in the region. In the mid-quarter, demand plunged from the downstream Butyl Rubber and Polyisobutylene industries due to weak orders from the downstream Automotive sector and sports equipment producers. Towards the end of the quarter, prices fell amid cautious buying activities by buyers due to a hike in bank interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which decreased the product demand from downstream Polyisobutylene producers due to sluggish orders from end-user consumers amid impacted purchasing power. Simultaneously, the fall in the feedstock Ethylene costs reduced the cost support on the production costs. At the end of the quarter, n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices in the USA witnessed USD 1070/MT.
The n-Butylene and Isobutylene price trend oscillated in Asia during Q2 of 2023. Initially, prices were firm and rose in the region as the production costs increased amid an escalation in feedstock Ethylene and Butadiene prices due to an increase in the upstream Crude Oil prices impacted by the announcement of Crude Oil production cuts by OPEC+. During the mid-quarter, prices showcased mixed sentiments in the region. The product prices decreased in North Asia amid firm availability of supplies and rose in India due to the high demand for downstream MBTE from the Automotive sector. Towards the end of the quarter, prices fell due to declined offtakes from downstream MBTE producer Wanhua Chemical in China, with an MTBE production capacity of 820,000 MTPA during early June 2023. It raised the domestic inventory levels amid declined demand from Polyisobutylene manufacturers. Simultaneously, decrease in feedstock Ethylene prices amid softened offtakes from end-users, which reduced the upstream cost support on the production costs. At the end of the quarter, n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices in China witnessed USD 1256/MT.
The n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices decreased consistently throughout the quarter in the European region. At the beginning of quarter 2, the price trend remained stable, and prices dropped marginally amid firm availability of supplies and declined Polyisobutylene demand from end-user industries. During the mid-quarter, prices decreased due to depressed demand from Butyl Rubber Industries and Polyisobutylene producers due to reduced consumption from Sports goods manufacturers. Meanwhile, the decline in upstream Butadiene prices due to a drop in upstream Crude Oil prices reduced the production costs. The contraction in the price intensified at the end of quarter 2, amid firm availability of supplies and reduced buying activities from buyers. The hike in bank interest rates by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England to curb rising inflation made domestic buyers conscious while making purchases, and they avoided any unnecessary trading activities. Consequently, the producers revised their quotations negatively to improve the offtakes. At the end of the quarter, n-Butylene and Isobutylene prices in Germany witnessed USD 1117/MT.
n-butylene and Isobutylene prices showed mixed trends in the USA market during the first quarter of 2023. During January and February, n-butylene and Isobutylene prices increased due to improved buying sentiments in the market. Demand from the downstream Polyisobutylene industries has been boosted in the domestic market, which further contributes to the high prices of Isobutylene. In addition, cost pressure from the feedstock Tertiary Butyl Alcohol has been firmed, which resulted in the high production cost of Isobutylene. In addition, LyondellBasell Industries performs Final Commissioning for a new 2.2 billion Lbs/yr Tertiary Butyl Alcohol (TBA) (feedstock for Isobutylene) unit in Channelview, TX. The units are expected to be operational in late March or early April, which is anticipated to increase the feedstock availability in the USA market. Despite this, Isobutylene prices declined in the domestic market during March as the demand outlook for the product remained on the lower edge along with weak productional capacity. In addition, the purchasing manager’s index dropped from 47.7 to 46.3 in March, signifying a contraction in both industrial and manufacturing activity. Furthermore, suppliers had enough to cater to the domestic market demand. Thus, prices of n-butylene and Isobutylene FD Texas were assessed at USD 1129/MT during March.
Prices of n-butylene and Isobutylene have increased in China market throughout the first quarter of 2023. The increase in procurement reported from the downstream Polyisobutylene industries has impacted the price value chain of Isobutylene in the Chinese domestic market. Thus, as a result of strong downstream demand, the manufacturers were compelled to revise their offers to gain some profit margins. In addition, the cost support from feedstock TBA (Tertiary Butyl Alcohol) was sufficient to cause an upshift in the price realizations of Isobutylene in the domestic market. At the same time, the manufacturing activity experienced a slower expansion in March. This can be attributed to the slower-than-expected economic recovery of the regional bellwether China following its reopening from the pandemic. Thus, prices of n-butylene and Isobutylene FOB Qingdao were assessed at USD 1306/MT during March 2023.
Prices of n-butylene and Isobutylene have continued to increase after the holidays in the European market throughout the first quarter of 2023. The incline in the prices was attributed to the improved demand from the downstream Polyisobutylene industries. Market participants reported a sharp rise in queries from the end-user. Although, feedstock Tertiary Butyl Alcohol has shown fluctuation throughout the quarter. Meanwhile, imports from the Asian market have comparatively higher than the domestic prices as prices increase in the exporting countries. In addition, according to ifo Business Climate Index, raised from 91.1 to 93.2 in March, compared with the previous month. Thus, prices of n-butylene and Isobutylene FD Hamburg were settled at USD 1201/MT during March 2023.