The reliable and trustworthy ICIS Oxo-alcohols report is covered weekly in Asia, China, Europe and the US. All four regions have price assessments gathered by our locally-based reporters that focus on market movements on n-butanol, iso-butanol, 2-ethylhexanol and dioctyl phthalate.
Europe also has a spot quote for diisononyl phthalate (DINP). The commentary gives additional background information on the factors influencing prices, such as demand and supply, import/export data, graphs and feedstock movements. This invaluable tool can be used to support you in making those crucial commercial decisions.
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Oxo-alcohols: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
In late June, some Chinese NBA producers were mulling a switch back to 2-EH after experiencing hefty declines in NBA prices. Supply of NBA could fall slightly as a result while 2-EH could lengthen in China. In northeast Asia, 2-EH supply could also lengthen with the completion of a turnaround.
Demand for oxo-alcohols is not expected to change much in the third quarter. The plasticizers segment is expected to be experiencing a summer lull at the start of the third quarter before recovering gradually. The downstream markets for NBA are also expected to not see too much change in demand.
There could be some supply constraints in Q3. Oxea was due to come out of its planned maintenance early July. Ineos and Grupa Azoty Zak remain on force majeure, though the latter expects to lift the declaration after its planned maintenance in the first half of July. BASF will then go into its planned shutdown mid-August to early October and Perstorp mid-September to early October.
July is expected to remain decent in terms of demand as some sources turn to the spot market due to the production issues. August though, is typically slow as many downstream players close plants for a couple of weeks. Supply tightness through planned and unplanned outages could change this traditional landscape and see a stronger than expected Q3 period.
US oxo-alcohols supply is expected to increase marginally toward more balance during the third quarter of 2018, though snug conditions prevailed during the previous quarter. The market also is wary of the 2018 hurricane season that will continue through November. But as summer wanes, inventories typically increase amid weakening demand.
US oxo-alcohols 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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Oxo Alcohols Methodology
The oxo-alcohols chain consists of n-butanol (NBA), isobutanol (IBA), and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH). Around 50% of 2-EH is used to make plasticisers, mainly dioctyl phthalate (DOP).
DOP is a plasticiser, which is material used for plastic, typically polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to enhance its flexibility and malleability. Di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) is also a plasticiser.
NBA is a feedstock for butyl acrylate and methacrylate, butanol-based glycol ethers, butyl acetate (butac), and some plasticisers. IBA is used as a solvent for nitrocellulose, in hydraulic fluids, and as a resin modifier.
Key drivers for oxo-alcohols are the construction industry (home and commercial), the appliance industry, the automotive industry and industries that need imperial coating material.
In addition, the alcohols NBA, IBA, and 2-EH have some uses just as solvents.
Health risks include irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory tracks when inhaled.
In Europe DOP has been re-labelled to a higher-risk category, featuring the skull and crossbones on packaging and machinery where it is used. DINP remains in the category below but is under investigation.