Bisphenol A Prices, markets & analysis
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Bisphenol A Overveiw Transcript
There are two grades of bisphenol A produced, one suitable for epoxy resin manufacture and a higher purity grade is for polycarbonate production.
The main outlet for BPA is polycarbonate, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of global demand. The second largest outlet, at around a third of BPA consumption is epoxy resins.
Polycarbonate is used in a variety of applications such as the fast-growing optical media industry, electrical and electronic, construction automotive and packaging applications.
The prices of phenol and benzene as well as demand from the polycarbonate and epoxy resins industries largely influence the price of BPA.
Phenol supply is currently limited owing to the robust buying demand from its derivatives and in 2010 BPA supply was the tightest it had been in 15 years.
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Spot bisphenol A (BPA) prices in Asia rose by $38-75/tonne, from mid-December to mid-March, largely driven by supply tightness in Asia as several major BPA producers conducted turnarounds at their regional facilities. However, price gains were capped by soft demand in February and March because of bearish macroeconomic conditions in key market China.
From January to February, prices were stable ahead of Lunar New Year holidays, a major festival celebrated in several Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. According to market sources, the figures of imported BPA cargo arriving in January increased by approximately 5% as buyers stocked up on BPA supplies for both January and February. As such, import figures for February plunged by close to 31% as buyers refrained from procurement in view of a shortened working month amid the holidays.
In March, major BPA producers in northeast Asia hiked their prices, targeting increases of $100-150/tonne for March-loading cargoes as inventory levels at their facilities fell amid shutdowns. Subsequently, prices of BPA were on an uptrend. However, the gains were limited, despite the severe lack of availability of regional cargoes, as buying interest remained lacklustre in China. Industry players said that buyers from downstream epoxy resin sector still had inventory in hand and were not actively procuring. Furthermore, the rapid depreciation of the Chinese yuan against US dollar made buying imported cargoes riskier, which in turn curtailed buying appetite, they added.
Updated to Q1 2014
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