ICIS provides independent and unbiased pricing information for the Bisphenol A markets on a weekly basis. Spot prices can be followed in Asia, China and Europe, while monthly contract prices are also reported in Europe.
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Bisphenol A: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2018
Following anti-dumping deposits levied on BPA of Thai origin, Thailand’s PTT Phenol, a major source of import supply into China, might scale back on cargo flows from its BPA plant in Map Ta Phut to China in the near term, given the higher costs. Market players are also monitoring volatility in any related markets that might temper price direction in the coming quarter.
BPA markets are geared towards potential price upside amid expectations of expanding downstream polycarbonate (PC) capacity that may well encourage demand for the raw material.
There appeared to be no problems with European BPA production at the beginning of Q1, but sources anticipate that the market will remain tight. Strong demand in China for both BPA and downstream epoxy resins products has resulted in Asian material being moved away from the European market. If the Chinese domestic market becomes more balanced after the Lunar New Year, Asian imports may become more readily available and ease any upward pressure on prices.
Demand looks set to remain steady for European BPA, with some producers trying to negotiate longer term contracts with customers. Market participants not wanting to be locked in may prefer to trade on the spot market, although a rush of buyers could send prices up further. If demand in China does not cool off after the Lunar New Year and prices continue to increase, sources have stated that they will rule themselves out of the market if they risk making a loss.
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Bisphenol A Methodology
About Bisphenol A
Bisphenol-A (BPA) occurs as white crystals or flakes with a slightly phenolic odour. It is soluble in ether, ethyl alcohol, acetone and slightly soluble in water.
The main outlet for BPA is in the manufacture of polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is used in a variety of applications such as optical media industry, electrical and electronic, construction, automotive and packaging.
BPA is driven primarily by increasingly strong demand for polycarbonate resins.
The second largest end use of BPA is epoxy resins. There are several types of epoxy resins but those based on BPA and epichlorohydrin account for the majority. High performance coatings are one of the primary applications followed by electrical/electronic laminates, adhesives, flooring and paving applications, mainly in the automotive, construction and aerospace industries.
Other key uses of BPA include flame retardants (mainly tetrabromobisphenol A), unsaturated polyester resins and polyacrylate, polyetherimide and polysulphone resins.