Glycol ethers Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Glycol ethers market, whether you buy or sell Glycol ethers or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the news and analysis that put the market into focus, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
Glycol ethers Overview Transcript
Glycol ethers are made up of several types of chemicals, and due to them being characteristically soluble in water they are used primarily for solvents like paints and coatings.
They can also be used to make inks, cleaning products and pharmaceuticals among others.
Butyl glycol, PM solvent and PM acetate are some of the key chemicals found in the glycol ethers chain.
The glycol ethers market is a developing market in Asia, with growth being driven by the rapid economic expansion in countries like China which is the region’s largest solvent market.
Glycol ethers is a derivative from ethylene and propylene. It is found E series and P series, for their link with ethylene and propylene respectively. Butyl glycol, known and BG, is produced directly from normal butanol, while PM acetate and PM solvent come from propylene oxide.
With regard to BG, China and Southeast Asia are the two main importing markets. There are few plants in China, Malaysia and Japan but this is not enough to meet the demand. Hence BG is imported by global producers from their US and European plants, the market trends in the US and Europe impact market sentiment and prices in Asia.
Asia’s BG market is also influenced by the trends in upstream markets like normal butanol.
PM solvent and PM acetate is a fairly self-sufficient market within Asia. Both are produced in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Malaysia. PM solvent and PM acetate are usually traded jointly and the main buyers are found in southeast Asia. China has some local production, which is sold in parts to the local domestic market as well as into the region. PM solvent and PM acetate markets are also influenced by upstream markets like propylene and propylene oxide.
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Glycol ethers: Market overview
Asian propylene glycol ethers prices fell sharply in late March, spurred by the substantial fall in the prices of main feedstock propylene oxide (PO). In the second quarter, the prices of drummed propylene glycol methyl ether (PM) solvent and propylene glycol methyl acetate (PMA) offered by China are expected to move in tandem with fluctuations in PO prices.
Prices for butyl di-glycol (DB) in the US have moved up recently, due to tight supply in the market. Prices for butyl glycol, PM and PMA have held steady following some upward price movement in the first quarter of the year, as feedstock costs have not continued to rise.
European propylene glycol ethers producers are keen to improve margins in the second quarter when demand traditionally picks up after winter, particularly from the paints and coatings sectors. PM and PMA prices have been unchanged in 2014 because of two consecutive rollovers in the propylene contract in February and March.
Participants in the European market are waiting for second quarter demand to pick up in April, but may see some drop off because of holidays in mid-April and the first half of May in parts of Europe.
Updated to mid-April 2014
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Glycol Ethers Methodology
About Glycol ethers
There are two groups of glycol ethers: E-series and P-series depending on whether they are made from ethylene oxide (EO) or propylene oxide (PO). They are used mainly as a solvent in a variety of domestic and industrial applications such as paints and coatings.
E-series glycol ethers are used as solvents and coalescing aids in paint formulations while higher molecular weight glycol ethers are used in hydraulic brake fluids. They are used as intermediates to make esters.
Propylene glycol ethers (PGE) are high performance industrial solvents used in paints and coatings, cleaners, inks and other applications.
In the electronics industry, PGEs are used with other solvents in the manufacture of laminates and semiconductor processes for making circuit boards.
Other applications include agricultural, cosmetic, ink, textile and adhesive products.