01 August 2011 11:04 [Source: ICIS news]
August phenol settled on a pre-discounted basis at €1,430-1,470/tonne ($2,072-2,130/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
“Two weeks ago, a €70-90/tonne increase would have been my best guess,” a buyer said. “But a €132/tonne increase is a big one which we will just have to swallow,” the buyer said.
Last month, the phenol contract fell by €80/tonne following a decrease in benzene. “Prices are moving up and down like a rollercoaster,” the buyer added.
Phenol contracts in Europe are 100% linked to feedstock benzene, with the supply-and-demand dynamics of the market having little influence over the contract price.
“It’s almost impossible to buy spot material,” a buyer said. “Volumes are limited so we are just having to get by with what we can get.”
The major uses of phenol involve its conversion to plastics or related materials. Condensation with acetone gives bisphenol-A (BPA), a key building block for polycarbonates. Condensation with formaldehyde gives phenolic resins, the most famous of which is Bakelite. Hydrogenation of phenol gives cyclohexanone, an intermediate en-route to nylon.
($1 = €0.69)
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