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 Q3 2018
The supply for China will likely stay stable in the third quarter. The domestic Chinese, Middle Eastern and regional supply will be sufficient to cater to the market’s demand, which is expected to be curtailed. Supply to the southeast Asia is likely stable and sufficient with Middle East, southeast Asian and deep sea materials.
Demand for butyl glycol is expected to be soft at the start of the third quarter, amid the traditional lull season for downstream paint and coating sectors during summer. Demand is expected to pick up end of the quarter, with the peak season typically starting from September.
European glycol ether (EGE) supply is balanced-to-tight going in to the third quarter. Butyl di-glycol (BDG) supply constraints will take some time to ease, while butyl glycol (BG) is largely balanced. As seasonal demand was slow to start off with, players expect it to continue in to the summer period. This may also prolong tightness in the market. However, the summer period tends to bring a slight dip in demand which is expected in August. As activity quietens down, supply should become more balanced.
As demand was slow to pick up during peak demand season, players expect healthy demand to continue in July. Warmer weather has now begun spreading across Europe, which will encourage buying appetite and consumption in the paint and coatings sector. Demand may dip during August due to the holiday period, particularly in southern Europe.
US glycol ethers supply will continue mostly balanced with demand during the third quarter of 2018, although snug conditions prevailed during the previous quarter. The market also is watching a predicted busy 2018 hurricane season that continues through November. Barring unexpected outages, inventories typically increase amid weakening demand.
US glycol ethers demand during the third quarter of 2018 will begin to wane following peak buying interest during the previous quarter’s paint and coatings season. While pent-up demand from hurricanes and California wildfires in late 2017 will likely continue early in the quarter, a seasonal slowdown will eventually emerge.
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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.