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PBT SUPPLY PROBLEMS CONTINUE WITH ISSUES ON PTA

May 4, 2021

PBT supply problems continue with issues on PTA production. The shortages of the vital raw material is believe to be behind several force majeure (FM) declarations in April.


While demand has been strong, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) supply has been suffering from a multitude of events during the past few months.

As demand in Asia boomed during the second wave of the pandemic, imports to Europe decreased and prices spiked. Moreover, the shortages of containers, delays and high costs fuelled this trend in imports.

At the same time, a global shortage of the feedstock butanediol (BDO) increased costs further. The good demand in China followed by the power blackouts in the US tightened global supply of BDO.

And recently, the market took a turn for the worse. A major producers suffered unexpected production problems of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), another vital raw material for the production of PBT.

The short supply of PBT in recent months has caused prices to jump more than €2,000/mt for some buyers from Q1 to Q2. Offers from Asia earlier in April were heard at above $4,000/mt for unfilled grade.

The accumulating supply issues imply that buyers will probably not see prices falling from the current high levels any time soon.

And while high prices are an issue, buyers are focusing more on availability. The shortages have become so critical that some many have to halt production because of the lack of PBT.

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