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 Q2 2018
2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) supply in Asia is expected to be slightly tight in early Q2 2018 as KH Neochem is only expected to return to production at the end of April. The 120,000 tonne/year in Yokkaichi, Japan, was shut on 8 March for a regular maintenance work.
Spot buyers of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) are not expected to have any additional demand, but with the downstream plasticizers market heading towards a traditional peak, some buyers might still be in a position to buy more spot cargoes should spot demand for plasticizers increase in China.
All European producers are carrying out planned maintenance in Q2 or Q3. INEOS will come out of its six-week maintenance early April, but this is followed by another large 45-day outage from Oxea. All contractual commitments should be covered during this period, but there is an anticipation of a tight spot market.
Demand traditionally reaches its peak consumption period during the second quarter. Some customers who have typically sourced some volume from the spot market have committed to additional contract volumes in 2018, given the scheduled maintenance programmes. Most forecast a flat year in terms of growth.
US oxo-alcohols supply will continue snug-to-tight during the second quarter of 2018, stemming from peak seasonal demand from the US spring paint and coatings season. Although planned spring maintenance is typically precipitated by some inventory stockpiling, already tight supply may strain available volumes during the quarter.
US oxo-alcohols demand during the second quarter of 2018 is expected to see its usual peak during the spring paint and coatings season, but that demand will be heightened by pent-up buying interest stemming from late-2017 catastrophic weather in the US Gulf and wildfires in California, requiring renovations and rebuilds.
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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.