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 Q3 2017
US isocyanate prices are expected to open the third quarter under ongoing upward pressure owing to persistently tight supplies. Sources say that Asian supply for toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) are beginning to ease, which may start to impact North American supply later in the third quarter. BASF is set to lift a force majeure on US methyl di-p phenylene isocyanate (MDI) at the start of the third quarter (Q3). MDI supplies remain tight in North America but are expected to loosen within the quarter. Demand for downstream polyurethane systems is set to remain healthy into Q3 while buyers are hoping that isocyanate prices will stabilise during the course of the third quarter.
The Europe MDI and TDI markets will be preparing for planned maintenance at Hungary-based producer BorsodChem. The supplier’s 260,000 tonne/year MDI site in Kazincbarcika is set to begin a planned maintenance in mid-July that will last for four weeks, while its 160,000 tonne/year TDI site in the same location is due to start a turnaround in July and finish in August. The planned outages were already said to be influencing the market in the second quarter of 2017.
In Asia, TDI prices are expected to soften in the third quarter with the restart of several northeast Asian plants from their turnarounds, although demand is likely to see some improvement in August with the onset of the peak demand season. MDI prices are also expected to weaken as supply will lengthen with Saudi-based Sadara’s polymeric MDI (PMDI) plant having come onstream in the second quarter.
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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.