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
Phthalic anhydride (PA) contract prices generally move in line with the orthoxylene (OX) feedstock across the regions, and they will follow OX developments over the coming months.
PA players continue to struggle with relatively high raw material and manufacturing costs, but underlying softness in downstream demand.
Consumption from the unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) and plasticizers sectors, used for construction purposes, traditionally picks up during the spring/early summer, in line with improving weather conditions. However, demand remains flat-to-below-expectations globally, amid weak macroeconomic conditions.
PA producers continue to lament thin margins, which prompted production cuts to minimise losses and unsuccessful attempts at margin fee increases. In Europe and Asia, there is a mix of reduced operating rates – with run rates said to be as low as 50-80% for a few plants in Asia, but with others at full output, depending on supplier. In the US, PA production is estimated to be flat-to-down this year compared with last year, and producers will have maintenance shutdowns in the autumn, though US inventory will be adequate.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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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.