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In Q4, 2016, the Chinese Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) performed positively supported by the demand and raw materials market. More profits came. Though the DBP prices fluctuated, prices were still high. Taking the DBP price in Shandong as the example, the highest price reached RMB 9,050/mt in mid-November. Given the good performance in Q4, 2016, players were bullish about the market in Q1, 2017. However, after the short increase in February, the overall market in Q1, 2017 was weaker-than-expected. The mainstream dealing prices of DBP in Shandong were in the range of RMB 7,200-7,350/mt, down around RMB 1,000/mt from the early January. Reasons for the weak market are as follows:
Soft Raw Materials Market
In early February, NBA producers increased prices considering the maintenance in China and decreasing supply of imported goods. However, the propylene market did not jump as the expectation. So, downstream producers were reluctant to accept high-priced NBA. Then, NBA prices declined constantly on the high inventory and decreasing propylene market. As for the phthalic anhydride market, prices also moved down on the weak demand. Prices of major plasticizers declined rapidly.
Production and Sales Were Poor on the Environmental Protection
After the Spring Festival, strict environmental protection inspection started in North China. Some small and medium-sized DBP producers had to cut down operating rates or shut down their units. Moreover, most downstream plastic and shoe-making producers were in Henan and Hebei and they had to shut down units. The demand did not recover in March.
Given the soft raw materials market and weak demand, the DBP market went down in Q1, 2017.
Q2, 2017 Forecast
Supply: The plasticizer unit at Bluesail will undergo maintenance in May.
Demand: The environmental protection inspection will be extended to East China, so the overall operating rate of plastic producers will be not positive.
Raw Material: The NBA market will be largely stable on the poor demand and the phthalic anhydride market may fluctuate marginally on the high inventory.
On the whole, the DBP market will be flat in Q2, 2017.
Full Name: Dibutyl Phthalate
CAS No.: 84-74-2
Production: DBP is produced by the reaction of n-butanol with phthalic anhydride. It is or was produced in the United States by Eastman Chemical Company, but the company announced in March 2011 that it would end production and exit the DBP and DEP (diethyl phthalate) market in December 2011.
Main Application: DBP is a commonly used plasticizer. It is also used as an additive to adhesives or printing inks. It is soluble in various organic solvents, e.g. in alcohol, ether and benzene. DBP is also used as an ectoparasiticide. DBP is also a putative endocrine disruptor.