The Caprolactam price reports are published weekly in Asia and Europe.
The independent pricing assessments cover spot and contract business, while the news and analysis provides an overview of market conditions, plus the impact on prices from demand/supply issues and upstream/downstream movements. The market intelligence in these reports provides you with a trusted reference which enables you to make informed and confident 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
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Caprolactam: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2016
Asia’s caprolactam (capro) prices are expected to firm up amid tightening supply in the region. Taiwan’s CPDC and Japan's Ube industries are expected undergo maintenance shutdowns in April and May. Firmer feedstock benzene prices are also expected to put further pressure on producers to increase offers in order to maintain margins. Meanwhile, spring has traditionally seen stronger downstream demand which is expected to provide further support for prices.
European capro prices are expected to move upwards in April for the first time since the beginning of 2016, following benzene's strong settlement – although the supply/demand balance does not justify any major increase. Unless there is a big change in crude oil pricing, there will be no significant change in capro for the second quarter and prices will follow market fundamentals. Demand has started picking up as the high season for some applications begins, and is expected to remain at a higher level for the next couple of months.
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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.