The Methylene Chloride report is published weekly in Asia and Europe by ICIS' locally-based reporters. The trusted price assessments cover spot markets in both regions. Unbiased and informative market commentary includes intelligence on regional movements, upstream impacts and any relevant production issues at the time of publication as well as a wider overview.
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Methylene chloride: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2017
Export volumes from China were expected to remain tight for October although tightness should start to ease starting November. With the conclusion of the 19th National Communist Party Congress of China by end October, some market participants expected environmental inspections to ease, and more plants should be able to ramp up operating rates. Volumes from other producers should remain largely unchanged, or increase only slightly.
Demand from downstream sectors should remain stable for most of the last quarter of the year, although market participants expected a seasonal downturn in demand around the end of the year. Sellers were expected to continue prioritising southeast Asia over India unless demand in India could pick up enough to be more competitive than southeast Asia.
As the fourth-quarter begins, parts of the northwest Europe methylene chloride market are tight due to supply constraints. Olin’s planned turnaround at Stade continues, and its force majeure on shipments of methylene chloride from Freeport, Texas remains in place. The German rail disruption has ended, and a backlog of supply is expected to reach southern Europe in October. Supply levels are expected to ease in November, after which, stability may return to the market.
As the fourth-quarter begins, additional enquiries have been heard from methylene chloride buyers in northwest Europe and the south, where demand has increased due to delays in deliveries following the German rail disruption. Demand is expected to become steadier during the fourth-quarter, and meet supply levels once tightness has eased. Increased demand in exports to the US and parts of Asia were also heard, and this may be a trend this quarter.
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Methylene Chloride Methodology
About Methylene chloride
Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, is a chlorinated hydrocarbon produced by the chlorination of chloromethane. Further chlorination of the mixture of chlorinated methanes results in chloroform and carbon tetrachloride being produced.
Methylene chloride’s ability to dissolve a wide range of organic compounds makes it a useful solvent for many chemical processes. It is also used as a paint stripper and metal cleaning and finishing. Other applications include aerosol propellants, foam blowing, extraction medium in food processes, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
While methylene dichloride is the least toxic of the simple chlorohydrocarbons, it has health risks due to its volatility. It is also considered to be a potential occupational carcinogen. As a result, alternatives have been sought in many applications.