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 Q4 2017
Oxo-alcohols spot prices are not expected to fluctuate sharply in the fourth quarter. While there is one major producer on planned maintenance for normal-Butanol (NBA), prices are not expected to see big gains as cargoes from southeast Asia could possibly supplement production losses after a major southeast Asian producer returned in mid-September.
Demand for oxo alcohols should remain largely stable in the fourth quarter barring any unplanned outages, especially in China. Demand from downstream butyl acetate (BA) and plasticizers are expected to remain stable in the fourth quarter.
BASF confirmed that there are more options to serve the market in October. However, it is likely to take time to build stocks and could take to the end of the year until a normal situation can be resumed. There are no other imminent planned production issues heard within Europe for 2017.
While October and November demand is expected to remain fairly constant at a healthy level, there are expectations that the usual end of year destocking will take place for many customers. There were references of additional demand for exports of 2-ethyl hexanol (2-EH) during October for Turkey and Asia.
US oxo-alcohols supply is expected to be somewhat constrained during the early part of the fourth quarter as production continues to regain momentum after Hurricane Harvey. But as market conditions, including transportation logistics, continue to improve, supply is expected to return to more normal levels.
During a quarter in which demand and pricing usually drops off with the Christmas and US Thanksgiving holidays, as well as year-end destocking, some domestic oxo-alcohols sources anticipate more stable demand amid Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. There is debate as to whether demand will begin to gain significant momentum late in the quarter or gain strength early next year.
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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.