Caprolactam Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS provides independent and unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis for the global Caprolactam market. Our network of price reporters, based in Asia, Europe and the US, deliver local insight for each of these markets, which is published in our individual weekly and daily price reports.
If you buy or sell Caprolactam or related products, our reports, news and market intelligence will give you the prices and analysis of the factors driving the prices that you need to make confident commercial decisions.
Caprolactam Overview Transcript
Caprolactam is an intermediate used in the production of nylon 6 fibres and resins. Around 70% of caprolactam is consumed in the production of nylon 6 for textiles, carpets and industrial yarns with the rest used in engineering resins and films.
Nylon 6 textile fibres are used to dye to give deep and bright shades, while offering high strength and light weight and can be combined with spandex fibres to give good stretch-fit properties.
Nylon six resins are increasingly used as engineering plastics. Packaging films manufactured from nylon 6 have a good combination of mechanical, optical and barrier properties.
Small amounts of caprolactam are used in cross-linking for polyurethanes.
Caprolactam is a widely traded product, with Europe one of the main exporting regions to Asia. Europe has the capacity to produce 1.9m tonnes/year of caprolactam, while global output is put at 4.9m tonnes/year.
Owing to strong demand in Asia, where downstream demand is exceeding caprolactam production, a high volume of European caprolactam has been and continues to be flaked for export to Asia.
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Caprolactam news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Caprolactam analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Caprolactam marketplace.
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Caprolactam: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2015
Asian caprolactam (capro) prices are poised for increases in the early part of the second quarter, supported by tight supply due to turnarounds at major Chinese domestic plants catering for contract volumes. Increases were also driven by strong upstream benzene prices. This, however, is a concern for downstream nylon chips and yarn producers which have been facing difficulties passing on cost increases. Demand from downstream remains uncertain for the second quarter.
European demand is strong because favourable exchange rates are increasing exports from Europe and limiting imports. Coupled with this, tight supply in Asia is further increasing overseas buying interest. It is also the beginning of the peak season for the end-use automotive, construction and textiles markets. Further boosting demand, several sources said that nylon is being used as a substitute for polypropylene (PP) in certain carpet and engineering plastic operations. This is because of global PP shortages. This is not expected to last beyond the short-term because typically nylon prices are higher than PP, meaning that players are using nylon as a last resort. Demand in the second quarter will depend on exchange rate movements along with the supply balance in Asia, and how long PP shortages last.
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Caprolactam occurs as white, hygroscopic flakes or crystals with a distinctive odour. It is soluble in water, cyclohexane, chlorinated hydrocarbons and is usually used, stored and transported in liquefied form at about 80oC.
Caprolactam is an intermediate primarily used in the production of nylon 6 fibres and resins. Nylon 6 fibres are made into textile, carpet and industrial yarns.
Nylon resins are noted for their performance properties including high tensile strength, excellent abrasion, chemical and heat resistance. They are the basis of engineering plastics, used in electronic and electrical components and automobiles, and oriented polyamide films used widely in food packaging.
Conventional caprolactam technology is based on the key intermediate cyclohexanone, which is usually produced by the oxidation of cyclohexane. Cyclohexanone is then reacted with hydroxylamine sulphate to produce cyclohexanone oxime. This is followed by a Beckmann rearrangement using oleum to yield caprolactam.