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.