The global Isocyanates markets are covered weekly by ICIS in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US. All the reports have price assessments on methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) for spot business and, where applicable, contract or domestic activity.
The up-to-date market news and analysis is collated by our locally based reporters and includes regional activity, upstream and downstream movements, production schedules, graphs and, in some instances, historical data. This provides you with a valuable tool to base your commercial judgements on.
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Isocyanates news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Isocyanates analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Isocyanates marketplace.
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Isocyanates: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2017
Asia toluene di-isocyante (TDI) prices are expected to remain largely stable in the second quarter. Tight supply in northeast Asia, outside China, due to several plant turnarounds during this period, will likely be offset by stagnant demand. Methyl di-p phenylene isocyanate (MDI) prices, however, are expected to trend stable to firm from even tighter supply from a few plant turnarounds in northeast Asia including the larger of Wanhua Chemical’s two MDI plants in Ningbo, China, in May.
Market participants expect European TDI tightness to persist into the second quarter of 2017 as they await the restart of BASF’s Ludwigshafen, Germany plant. The company announced in February 2017 that it will not fully repair the facility until 2018. Meanwhile, Huntsman’s turnaround at its Rotterdam, the Netherlands MDI plant is set to finish in April having begun in mid-March 2017
Even though US TDI prices have been assessed upward by a total of 37 cents/lb ($816/tonne) over a series of price hikes dating back to the fourth quarter of 2016, ongoing global supply tightness may support further increase initiatives in the second quarter. MDI prices could also see further increases as supply will be tight entering into the second quarter, although some participants believe that tightness will ease later in the quarter. High benzene feedstock costs have also supported MDI increases, although benzene contracts may see some downward movements.
The Middle East isocyanates market is expected to see tight supply conditions continue in the second quarter, especially with a number of maintenance shutdowns and the delayed start-up of BASF’s Ludwigshafen plant. One wildcard for the MDI market is the Sadara chemical complex in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia which is expected to start-up in the second quarter of this year. Until then, prices are expected to remain stable to firm although demand may also ease during the Ramadan month, starting late-May.
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MDI: Pure methyl diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) occurs as white to pale yellow crystals or flakes with a slightly musty odour. It is soluble in acetone, benzene, kerosene and nitrobenzene. It reacts readily with water to form insoluble polyureas and may polymerise under the influence of temperatures above 204oC.
MDI is made available both in pure form and as a mixture of MDI, the dimer and trimer. Mixed MDIs is referred to as polymeric isocyanates or PMDI.
MDI is used mainly in polyurethane (PU) foams. Rigid foams are mostly used in construction, refrigeration, packaging and insulation. Flexible foams are used in furniture, bedding and transportation. MDI is also used to make binders, elastomers, adhesives, sealants and coatings.
TDI: The main outlet for toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is in the manufacture of polyurethane (PU) flexible foams used in upholstery, mattresses and automotive seats. This is achieved by reacting the TDI with a polyol to produce the foam. Smaller uses for TDI include polyurethane elastomers and coatings.
TDI occurs as colourless to pale yellow liquid or crystals with a pungent odour. All isocyanates are hazardous and must be handled with care. Skin contact must be avoided, as redness, blistering and possible sensitisation can result.