The ICIS Isopropanol (IPA) report is published weekly in Asia, Europe and the US. Our price assessments cover spot activity and, in Europe, technical, and cosmetic and pharmaceutical grades are quoted.
Locally based reporters gather market intelligence and compile commentary to cover regional activity, production issues, upstream and downstream news, as well as economic indications. The independent and unbiased information helps support you to make business decisions with confidence.
Isopropanol Overview Transcript
Isopropanol or IPA is used as a solvent in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Its outlets include: pharmaceuticals, adhesives and inks, paints and resins, cosmetics and personal care items. It is also used as a chemical intermediate.
IPA can be produced using propylene or acetone. New facilities in Asia are mostly acetone-based for cost reasons. Acetone is usually more competitively priced compared to propylene due to rising regional supplies. China is the largest importer in Asia and it buys mainly from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.
Volatility in Asia is limited by long-term supply contracts between major producers and the distributors. Shipment prices are usually settled once a month, but swings in feedstock propylene and acetone costs can result in undue volatility in prices. Plant turn-arounds and outages usually have an impact on prices and Southeast Asia also tends to look at the Chinese market for price direction.
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Isopropanol: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2016
Going forward, European isopropanol (IPA) players will be closely monitoring the supply and demand situation, with tightness causing IPA and feedstock propylene prices to diverge over the last two quarters.
Recent production problems at Shell’s cracker in Singapore may create a similar situation going forward; however, little information is currently available.
IPA will also be strongly influenced by the volatile crude oil market, with the direction of prices still unclear before another meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Algeria.
In Asia, the downstream painting and coating demand typically strengthens in the last quarter of the year, for year-end consumption and in preparation for the new year.
Market players said the uptrend was likely to continue until November due to the strong demand amid tightened supply.
In the US, prices have spiked on higher upstream costs for feedstock propylene.
Market participants will continue to watch propylene values for pricing direction.
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Isopropanol (IPA) is a clear, colourless, mobile liquid with an alcoholic odour. It is miscible with water and ethyl alcohol and reacts with strong oxidants.
IPA, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a low-cost solvent used in many industrial and consumer products and as an extractant. Outlets include cosmetics and personal care products, de-icers, paints and resins, pharmaceuticals, food, inks and adhesives. It is also used as solvent for oil and gums and in the manufacture of fishmeal concentrates. Low-grade IPA is used in motor oils.
Other applications include its use as a cleaning and drying agent in the manufacture of electronic parts and metals, and as an aerosol solvent in medical and veterinary products. It can also be used as a coolant in beer manufacture, a coupling agent, a polymerisation modifier, a de-icing agent and a preservative.
Some chemical compounds are manufactured from IPA, in particular derivative ketones, such as methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isopropylamines and isopropyl esters.