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 Q2 2016
Demand is bolstered by the Spring weather, conducive for production and downstream usage. Demand is further bolstered by stocking up activities pre- and post-festivities including Thailand’s New Year on 13-15 April, and Ramadan in June. The stronger surge in feedstock acetone leads to higher production than IPA, resulting in tighter supply.
Availability for European isopropanol (IPA) has improved due to an ending force majeuere outside Europe. Demand is also expected to rise due to the stronger season for downstream industries. The long-term outlook for IPA market is uncertain from volatile feedstock.
IPA is impacted by propylene, which is influenced by the changeable global crude oil market. Sentiment is mixed entering the second quarter on whether proposed price hikes for US isopropanol (IPA) will be accepted by the market. US producers Dow and Monument separately announced in March they will seek three-cents/lb increases on 1 April. Neither supplier offered reasons for the hikes, but upstream propylene costs have risen.
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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.