Our weekly Melamine reports are published for Asia, Europe and the US. Price assessments gathered by our locally based reporters cover spot business in Asia, contract and spot in Europe, and contract only in the US.
The market analysis in the commentary section offers overviews of regional activity, upstream news, production updates, graphs, and any other key factors influencing prices. This independent market intelligence can assist you in making those crucial commercial choices with confidence.
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Melamine: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2018
Melamine supply will continue to rise as China’s Hualu-Hengsheng is expected to start up its new 50,000 tonne/year melamine unit in October. Despite the rising supply, melamine prices may not fall as the higher feedstock cost and strong demand in the fourth quarter may deter any price fall.
The demand is expected to pick up in the fourth quarter as most end-users will restock cargoes to fulfil the orders for holiday season at the year-end. Based on the past history, melamine prices usually increase in the last quarter of the year.
Maintenance stops will come to an end in October, with production expected to run well for the rest of the year. Demand will also decrease toward the end of the year, which will boost the European level.
Demand in October and November is expected to remain steady, and then decrease in December. Players will start to manage inventory ahead of year end, and there will be a level of destocking taking place, as is expected for the period.
Cornerstone’s planned turnaround is scheduled to be completed in mid-October. US supply should be constant once the turnaround is completed, as Cornerstone’s Louisiana plant is the only melamine plant in the US. The Netherlands and Trinidad/Tobago should be the largest melamine suppliers to the US in the fourth quarter, followed by Germany and Japan.
US melamine demand drops to its lowest point of the year during the fourth quarter. Exports during the fourth quarter in years past have run the gamut from the highest to lowest quarter of the year. The UK and Brazil will continue to be primary targets for US melamine exports during the final quarter of 2018.
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Melamine was originally manufactured by heating dicyandiamide under pressure. Currently, melamine is produced by the decomposition of urea into cyanic acid and ammonia in an endothermic reaction. Cyanic acid is then polymerised to form melamine and carbon dioxide.
Its most important reaction is that with formaldehyde, forming resinous compounds of high molecular weight. The construction and automotive industries figure high in driving melamine growth. Container and coil coatings, laminates and flame retardant uses have all experienced growth in recent years.
Melamine is used in the production of moulding powder to make dinner ware, coatings in cars, fan coils and appliances. Other uses include adhesive resins, which are used in the making of wood panels for the construction of kitchens, bathrooms, furniture and flooring. Melamine is produced by heating urea, ammonia (NH3) and carbon monoxide, of which the resulting mixture of isocyanic and ammonia reacts over a solid catalyst at about 400ºC.
Melamine is moderately toxic by ingestion and a skin and eye irritant.