Phenol Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phenol market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phenol or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phenol market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Phenol Overview Transcript
The global phenol market is structurally short and will remain so until new capacities starts to come on stream in Asia over the next few years.
Demand for phenol derivatives is set to remain steady in Europe, Asia and the US. This is because demand in downstream markets such as bisphenol A, caprolactam, adipic acid and phenolic resins is likely to remain subdued in the near term.
Global economic uncertainty and slow growth in developed markets will play their parts to aid stability. There is some concern over the supply of cumene, an upstream chemical, which may itself become short, tightening supply.
The other challenges facing the market for phenol are sharp fluctuations in the benzene price which can be hard to pass on to consumers in downstream markets where prices are negotiated rather than set on a formula basis.
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Phenol news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Phenol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Phenol marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Phenol
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Phenol
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Phenol: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2014
In Asia, phenol prices into China may extend gains early in the third quarter after finishing 4.3% higher in the second quarter, barring a significant pullback in feedstock benzene prices. Rising capacity in China in the third quarter is likely to ease the feedstock cost-led rise in phenol prices. However, demand is also expected to rise in Taiwan as China Petrochemical Development Corp plans to begin a test run of its new 100,000 tonne/year cyclohexanone plant in August, amid other restarts of new and expanded capacity.
The European phenol market is likely to be balanced-to-short through the third quarter. A force majeure at Versalis is expected to last through July. In addition, rolling maintenance shutdowns are slated to occur at other producers’ facilities. Contract and spot pricing should continue to be influenced by benzene prices, with little chance of a near-term break from formula pricing.
US phenol pricing should continue to track benzene contract values, which spiked in July. In the wake of spring turnarounds, the return to more typical phenol rates of 60-70% are expected to prevail. Sources see little near-term hope for any change from the status quo of soft domestic demand and little to no export demand from an oversupplied Asia.
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Phenol occurs as colourless to yellow crystals, with a characteristic carbolic odour which turns pink on exposure to light and air. It is strongly hydroscopic, liquefying in moist air. It is moderately dissolvable in water, but very soluble in ether, methyl and ethyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, glycerol, benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The solution in water is a weak acid.
The main chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol are bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins, phenolic resins, caprolactam, alkylphenols, aniline and adipic acid. The largest market for phenol is BPA followed by phenolic resins.
Cumene-based technology is the dominant process to produce phenol. Here, benzene and propylene are reacted to form cumene, which is oxidised to the hydroperoxide, followed by acid-catalysed cleavage to yield phenol and acetone.