Growth in the demand for polyurethane makes it essential for industry participants to have access to reliable market intelligence on polyurethane’s key raw materials: polyols and isocyanates - to track trade movements, pricing changes and supply information.
ICIS publishes a wide range of information that covers polyols, isocyanates and their related products on a regional and global perspective. This includes pricing information, historical data, news, analysis, and supply & demand forecasts, enabling you to evaluate the market from every angle.
ICIS market data is compiled by our global team of experts who are directly in touch with key industry players. They apply a strict methodology to ensure the intelligence we publish is dependable, fully reconciled and accurate.
ICIS publishes the following information about the raw materials used for polyurethane to help you evaluate opportunities and competition from both a global and a regional perspective:
Pricing information – regional price assessments and market analysis for polyols, isocynates and their related products, published on a daily and/or weekly basis. Our intelligence enables you to understand price drivers and fluctuations, and offers benchmarks for settling your contract prices. Historical pricing data is also available, which you can incorporate into your own analytical models to guide your forecasting.
Global Supply and Demand (S&D) database – an online database service which combines fully-reconciled S&D, capacity, trade and production ownership data to give you multiple views of the marketplace. It enables you to search, shape and export regional/global data, giving you the insight you need to plan ahead with accuracy. Historical data is available from 1978 and forecasts up to 2030.
Isocyanate and polyol prices are largely driven by market fundamentals, although feedstocks are also discussed to some extent.
The US and Europe are mature markets where demand for isocyanates and polyols is expected to grow moderately. Demand growth for isocyanates in the next decade is weighted in favour of Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa.
Dow’s TDI plant closure in Camacari, Brazil, resulted in the tightening of supply in Latin America, but supply has been replaced with imports from Asia. TDI supply in other global regions is not considered short - especially not in Europe, with the expected start-up of two new world scale TDI capacities each of 300,000 tonnes/year by BASF and Bayer Material Science (BMS), both in Germany, and these new capacities are expected to come online in 2014, although BMS's will also involved some restructuring of existing facilities in Brunsbuettel and Dormagen in Germany, as well as employing new gas phase phosgenation technology, which is considered to be more energy and ecologically efficient when compared with conventional TDI technology, according to the company.
However, European isocyanate players said that these new TDI capacity plans raises the question about where the new polyol capacity will come from in Europe, especially as 2 parts polyols are combined with one part TDI to make flexible PU foam and no expansion or no capacity plans for polyols have been reported.
Other new capacity for isocyanates and polyols globally include Dow’s Chemical’s Sadara petrochemical joint venture project in Saudi Arabia with state-owned Saudi Aramco is proceeding on track with first production from its plastics units expected in the second half of 2015. The Sadara project, the largest ever in petrochemicals, will manufacture olefins and polymers, as well as polyether polyols and isocyanates among other products.
Participants expect that PU demand in the US automotive sector will remain relatively healthy, while business activity continues to improve in the furniture, bedding and construction segments as the US economy gradually recovers.
New TDI and MDI capacities have been coming on stream in China. Bayer’s 250,000 tonne/year TDI plant in Shanghai started up in late 2011. China’s Yantai Wanhua plans to double its MDI production to 1.2m tonnes/year by 2013. BASF is planning to start up a 400,000 tonne/year MDI plant in Chongqing in 2014.
Updated to mid-February 2013
The two key commercial isocyanates, toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) and methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI), account for the bulk of global isocyanate production.
Isocyanates, together with polyols, are used mainly to manufacture polyurethane (PU) polymers, flexible and rigid lightweight foams used for mattresses, furniture, building insulation and refrigeration. Other applications are in coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE applications).
With new Sadara start-ups, unexpected plant disruptions and an influx of downstream flexible slabstock grade of polyols in Asia’s polyurethane markets, the trading dynamics in southeast Asia and South Korea have become more volatile.
Download the free White Paper explaining how these developments in Asia have impacted on the southeast Asian and South Korean markets.
Saudi Arabia’s Sadara Chemical Co announced its long-awaited entry into the polyether polyols supply chain recently in a relatively low-key affair. In this paper, ICIS studies the impact of the debutant in the Middle East polyols industry on prices since the official announcement, highlighting the limited impact seen so far in what is widely considered to be a well-supplied segment.
The supply of isocyanates, key ingredients in the polyurethanes (PU) industry, to the Middle East is currently dominated by producers in northeast Asia. However, the entry of Saudi Arabia’s Sadara has the potential to change those dynamics. That could have an impact on prices, from as early as this year, as material from the Dow-Aramco joint venture starts to trickle into a crowded market.
During APIC 2016, ICIS explored the challenges and opportunities facing polyurethane players. Our presentation ‘Survival strategies of producers in the Asia PU chain – what are they doing to stay on top of the game?’ is available for you to download, covering: