According to Platts energy consulting, in the first half of this year, the global butadiene market is expected to continue to be bearish for most of the second half of this year due to the sharp decline in butadiene prices due to the reduction of demand in the automotive industry.
Asia: prices of butadiene and naphtha may hang upside down
In the second half of this year, the Asian butadiene market is likely to remain stable, as some butadiene plants in China delayed the shutdown to the second half of this year, which may offset the weak demand of downstream synthetic rubber.
Market participants are also paying close attention to the price difference between butadiene and naphtha, which has been narrowing in the first half of this year. On May 6, the price difference between butadiene and naphtha fell to a seven-year low of $96 per ton, according to data from standard & Poor's global Platts energy information. Market participants said that the price of butadiene in Asia may fall below the price of naphtha in the second half of this year as the market expectation for butadiene continues to be weak.
Europe: surplus butadiene expected to export to Asian market
European insiders are still pessimistic about the butadiene market in the second half of 2020 and are not expected to improve in the short term. In the context of bleak prospects for the tire industry, the main downstream SBR industry of butadiene will usher in another downturn. At present, Europe is looking to export to fill the gap of domestic demand for butadiene.
In Europe, the market performance of butadiene is largely determined by the supply level, because the profit margin of ethylene and propylene production in Europe is very high, and the operating rate of naphtha cracking unit is high, bringing more supply to the already surplus butadiene market. Some sources also said that cracking plant operators are looking for an alternative to C4 in order to limit the excess supply of butadiene. "Although the profitability of cracking units is good, not all products, such as carbon IV, do," said one European producer. We are still facing a difficult period of several months, and I expect to see a slow restart, which will be a long and gradual process. "
The United States: the price environment at historical low level will continue
U.S. butadiene market participants expect the U.S. butadiene market to get worse in the second half of this year and not improve until the fourth quarter. The excess supply of butadiene, combined with the reduction in demand caused by the epidemic, has led to a downward spiral in the US spot and contract prices of butadiene, to their lowest levels in the past 11 and 18 years, respectively.