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.
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Caprolactam: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2017
Supply to key market China is likely to decrease amid maintenance at several caprolactam (capro) facililties. Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical has planned a turnaround at its 85,000 tonne/year plant in Niihama from end-October to end-November. Ube Japan's 100,000 tonne/year plant in Yamaguchi has shut for a turnaround for two months until mid-November. Taiwan's China Petrochemical Development Corporation shut its 200,000 tonne/year Kaohsiung plant for a 20-day turnaround from 6 October, and its Toufen plant is only running at 85-86% capacity after recovering from a technical issue.
Downstream nylon production has been raised and is likely to be maintained at such rates in October. Demand may taper towards year-end as the manufacturing sector slows ahead of the traditional lull in demand seen between late November and December.
Updated to Q4 2017
Caprolactam (capro) supply is expected to tighten in Europe during the start of the fourth quarter, with two major players undergoing planned turnarounds through much of October. With demand in the downstream nylon 6 sector expected to remain robust, the capro market is expected to move towards more balanced fundamentals. Less capro is expected to be available on the market later in the quarter, with Grupa Azoty having opened a new nylon plant in Poland, which will integrate capro production. Late-quarter supply in Europe could also be impacted by any anti-pollution measures in China; upstream plants are expected to be shutd own in that country and therefore demand from Asia is anticipated to increase significantly, as occurred last year.
Fourth-quarter demand is expected to remain strong in the downstream nylon 6 market, which will likely increase demand in Europe for caprolactam (capro). The opening of Grupa Azoty's new nylon plant in Poland is expected to increase demand as it seeks to integrate capro production into the new plant and have fewer volumes for sale in the open market. Late-quarter demand is expected to increase significantly, if China implements anti-pollution measures in a similar fashion to last year. Players anticipate that China's anticipated anti-pollution plant shutdowns will likely impact upstream benzene and cyclohexane production first, but are expected to eventually impact the capro market in the country, leading to price rises and volumes being imported from other regions, such as Europe, to make up for any shortening.
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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.