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
The US phthalic anhydride (PA) market is not expected to see much change in the first quarter of 2014 because demand is not anticipated to fluctuate from typical seasonal patterns. The market remains long and demand in the main downstream outlets – unsaturated polyester resins (UPRs) and plasticizers – will remain flat. Demand in smaller downstream outlets – such as industrial hoods, science lab bench tops and pharmaceutical applications – will remain healthy.
The structural oversupply that characterised the European PA market in 2013 is expected to disappear following the closure of Arkema’s 90,000 tonne/year plant at Chauny, France, which is planned for March. Sources said conversion fees for 2014 contracts have been increased by up to €50/tonne to improve profitability, which has been low in recent months. However, some fees will remain unchanged for 2014.
Asia PA spot prices are likely to fluctuate in the first quarter in the absence of clear market directions and are expected to track feedstock orthoxylene (OX) prices closely. The tight supply of PA in South Korea since November 2013 is likely to persist into March. However, the short supply is being offset by relatively weak demand as higher-priced cargoes drew tepid response from Chinese and southeast Asian buyers. Moreover, market participants expect downstream demand to remain weak ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January when downstream manufacturing activity slows down, which is a damper on PA price hikes in the near term.
Updated to mid-Jan 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.