The Caprolactam price reports are published weekly in Asia and Europe.
The independent pricing assessments cover spot and contract business, while the news and analysis provides an overview of market conditions, plus the impact on prices from demand/supply issues and upstream/downstream movements. The market intelligence in these reports provides you with a trusted reference which enables you to make informed and confident decisions.
Caprolactam Overview Transcript
Caprolactam is an intermediate used in the production of nylon 6 fibres and resins. Around 70% of caprolactam is consumed in the production of nylon 6 for textiles, carpets and industrial yarns with the rest used in engineering resins and films.
Nylon 6 textile fibres are used to dye to give deep and bright shades, while offering high strength and light weight and can be combined with spandex fibres to give good stretch-fit properties.
Nylon six resins are increasingly used as engineering plastics. Packaging films manufactured from nylon 6 have a good combination of mechanical, optical and barrier properties.
Small amounts of caprolactam are used in cross-linking for polyurethanes.
Caprolactam is a widely traded product, with Europe one of the main exporting regions to Asia. Europe has the capacity to produce 1.9m tonnes/year of caprolactam, while global output is put at 4.9m tonnes/year.
Owing to strong demand in Asia, where downstream demand is exceeding caprolactam production, a high volume of European caprolactam has been and continues to be flaked for export to Asia.
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Caprolactam news and market information products from ICIS
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Caprolactam: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2017
Asian caprolactam (capro) prices have largely been on the rise since mid-November 2016, buoyed by limited export supply to China and Taiwan. Domestic production in China has been greatly affected by environmental checks which led to reduced capro production in the country. Downstream demand remains healthy and this, in addition to the shortage of supply, has pushed up both spot and contract prices to new highs. Chinese buyers have been outbidding their Taiwanese counterparts in importing cargoes and the trend will likely continue in the rest of the first quarter as supply in China remains tight.
The European capro market kicked off the new year faced with a rather siginificant, but more or less expected, increase of the feedstock benzene contract price. In December, the strong uptrend in benzene spot prices and improvement in crude oil prices led to some players restocking rather than destocking, keeping December demand unusually strong. Players forecast a higher crude oil price, at least for the first half of 2017, with respect to the average level of the second half 2016. Consequently, there will be support for a price increase in all downstream petrochemicals, including capro and nylon 6. Producers expect the dollar to get stronger versus the euro due to the political and economic uncertainty in Italy and Greece; therefore, the general export position of the European market, not only of capro, might be much better.
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Caprolactam occurs as white, hygroscopic flakes or crystals with a distinctive odour. It is soluble in water, cyclohexane, chlorinated hydrocarbons and is usually used, stored and transported in liquefied form at about 80oC.
Caprolactam is an intermediate primarily used in the production of nylon 6 fibres and resins. Nylon 6 fibres are made into textile, carpet and industrial yarns.
Nylon resins are noted for their performance properties including high tensile strength, excellent abrasion, chemical and heat resistance. They are the basis of engineering plastics, used in electronic and electrical components and automobiles, and oriented polyamide films used widely in food packaging.
Conventional caprolactam technology is based on the key intermediate cyclohexanone, which is usually produced by the oxidation of cyclohexane. Cyclohexanone is then reacted with hydroxylamine sulphate to produce cyclohexanone oxime. This is followed by a Beckmann rearrangement using oleum to yield caprolactam.