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 Q3 2016
European IPA availability is expected to improve in Q3 due to a long-running supply deficit overseas being anticipated to become more balanced in August.
However, early price expectations for July are for increases due to the current tight situation.
The volatile crude oil situation makes the long-term outlook for IPA feedstocks difficult to predict, particularly in view of uncertainty created by the UK’s recent vote to exit the EU.
Asian prices are anticipated to decrease.
Summer in northeast Asia typically hinders production and downstream paint and coating projects. The monsoon season in some parts of southeast Asia has a similar impact.
The upstream acetone price downtrend on its lengthened supply would further curb IPA prices.
Despite scheduled turnarounds at JX and LG, the tightened supply is unlikely to lift the bearish sentiment.
US IPA values fell to historic lows through the second quarter before multiple suppliers made separate price increase announcements for the end of June and early July.
Sentiment among market participants on price direction remains mixed, with some buyers saying values should remain flat, while distributor sources are saying that the suppliers seem to be holding firm on the proposed hikes.
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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.