The ICIS Glycol Ether reports are published in Asia, Europe and the US on a weekly basis. Asia and US markets focus on both the ethylene and propylene based glycol ethers within this report, while in Europe these are published separately as glycol ethers and propylene glycol ethers.
Our locally based reporters gather market intelligence on demand, supply, upstream movements, production schedules and any other key factors influencing prices at the time. Follow our universally-trusted reports to help you make informed commercial decisions.
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Glycol ethers: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2018
In the key Asia importing market China, the outcome of the anti-dumping duties (ADD) investigation for butyl glycol is widely expected to be announced in April. Market players believed that any increase in the ADD rates from the current rates in place would reduce imports from deep-sea origins. Meanwhile, supply from Asia origin is expected to remain largely stable.
Demand in China and southeast Asia for butyl glycol is expected to see uptick in April and May, ahead of the peak season for the downstream paint and coating industry in June.
European glycol ether supply constraints from the first quarter are expected to ease slightly as Dow lifted its sales allocations at the end of March. Meanwhile, increased demand could lead to the existing balanced to tight market fundamentals continuing into the second quarter. As long as European production is consistent, market stability is expected to continue.
The second quarter is typically the peak demand season for European glycol ethers. Consumption is expected to rise, particularly in the paint and coatings industry. Early orders for April were made in late March, according to sellers. Demand exceeded expectations during the first quarter and players expect healthy demand in the second quarter.
US glycol ethers supply will continue to be pressured during the second quarter of 2018, largely emanating from increased seasonal demand as the US coatings season gets fully underway. While there were short bursts of harsh winter weather, supply levels are expected to be adequate.
US glycol ethers demand during the second quarter of 2018 is expected to see its usual peak during the spring paint and coatings season heightened by pent-up buying interest stemming from late-2017 catastrophic weather in the US Gulf and wildfires in California, requiring renovations and rebuilds.
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Glycol Ethers Methodology
About Glycol ethers
There are two groups of glycol ethers: E-series and P-series depending on whether they are made from ethylene oxide (EO) or propylene oxide (PO). They are used mainly as a solvent in a variety of domestic and industrial applications such as paints and coatings.
E-series glycol ethers are used as solvents and coalescing aids in paint formulations while higher molecular weight glycol ethers are used in hydraulic brake fluids. They are used as intermediates to make esters.
Propylene glycol ethers (PGE) are high performance industrial solvents used in paints and coatings, cleaners, inks and other applications.
In the electronics industry, PGEs are used with other solvents in the manufacture of laminates and semiconductor processes for making circuit boards.
Other applications include agricultural, cosmetic, ink, textile and adhesive products.