Phthalic anhydride Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phthalic anhydride market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phthalic anhydride or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phthalic anhydride 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.
Phthalic anhydride Overview
Phthalic anhydride (PA) can be produced from two routes, either from the catalytic oxidation of orthoxylene (OX) or from the catalytic oxidation of naphthalene. In Asia the major outlet for PA is used to make phthalate plasticizers such as dioctylphthalate (DOP) which is used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The second largest use of PA is in unsaturated polyester resins (UPR), used to produce fibre-glassed reinforced polyester resins.
World wide growth rates for PA are expected to average just under 3% per year over the next few years. The highest growth rates are in Asia.
Consumption of PA is mainly dependent on the growth in consumption of flexible PVC, which is sensitive to general economic conditions as it is consumed in the construction and automobile industries.
In Asia, the majority of PA cargoes are traded on a spot basis. Key factors that influence prices are movements in feedstock OX, sentiment and market conditions in the downstream DOP segment and the availability of supply.
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Phthalic anhydride: Market overview
Asian phthalic anhydride (PA) spot prices are likely to rebound in the second quarter after hitting near three-year lows at the end of March. Prices are expected to continue to track feedstock orthoxylene (OX) prices closely, which have stabilised after steep falls for the past few months. Demand from the unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) and plasticizers sectors is likely to improve as the summer peak season approaches.
European OX prices have fallen every month so far in 2014, undermining PA prices. Demand was starting to pick up at the beginning of April, particularly from the UPR sector, in accordance with usual seasonal trends.
Participants in the US market do not expect to see much change in the second quarter as demand is expected to remain steady after a strong March. Contract prices for molten and flake PA are stable going into the second quarter on the back of a rollover in feedstock OX contracts. PA prices will follow trends in OX as monthly contracts typically settle on the delta of the previous month's OX contract.
Updated to mid-April 2014
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Phthalic Anhydride Methodology
About Phthalic anhydride
Phthalic anhydride (PA) occurs as white solid in various forms or clear molten liquid, with an irritating odour. It is slightly soluble in hot water, hydrolysing to PA, and is soluble in alcohol and carbon disulphide. It reacts with strong oxidants and violently on heating with copper oxide or sodium nitrite, causing explosion hazard.
The major outlet for PA, accounting for just over half of production, is in the manufacture of phthalate plasticisers, the main product being dioctyl phthalate (DOP) which is used as a plasticiser in polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The second largest outlet is in unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) which are usually blended with glass fibres to produce fibreglass-reinforced plastics. Principal markets are construction, marine and transportation.
The third largest outlet is PA-based alkyd resins, which are used in solvent-based coatings for architectural, machinery, furniture and fixture applications.
Small volume uses for PA include the manufacture of dyes and pigments, detergents, herbicides and insecticides, fire retardants, saccharin and polyester resin cross-linking agents.