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Epichlorohydrin Overview Transcript
Epichlorohydrin or ECH is an extremely versatile chemical intermediate.
There are two different ECH production processes one is propylene based, and the other is glycerine based. Most ECH producers use the propylene route.
ECH is used to produce a wide variety of products including epoxy resins, textiles, paper, inks and dyes.
Approximately three-quarters of the world’s consumption of ECH is used for epoxy resins, making demand from this sector the key to ECH prices.
ECH in Asia is mainly traded on a spot basis between producers and long-term end-users. Trade activity within Asia has become thinner in recent years, due to limited export availability from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China where there is strong domestic growth in epoxy resin demand.
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Asia consumes more than half of the global supply of epichlorohydrin (ECH), with China responsible for consuming around 30% of that figure. In mid-August 2012, several new plant start-ups in China worsened a prevailing ECH oversupply problem. The start-ups have reduced the reliance of China on imports from regional producers.
China’s plant operating rates play a pivotal role in the region’s supply-and-demand balance. The country’s average operating rate has decreased further from around 70% capacity in mid-August 2012 to 50% capacity, as the market continues to be oversupplied.
There was no improvement in demand from the downstream epoxy resins sector in the quarter ended mid-November and ECH prices hence fell further from the previous quarter, from $1,730-1,760/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China on 14 August to $1,550-1,600/tonne CFR China on 13 November, as a result of oversupply.
Many regional producers lowered their selling ideas to around $1,600/tonne CFR China to boost buying interest in the market, but buying ideas were largely capped around $1,550/tonne CFR China.
Updated to mid-November 2012
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