The ICIS Phthalic anhydride reports will keep you informed and up-to-date with market movements in Asia, Europe and the US. Our network of locally-based reporters publish weekly price assessments for spot and contract, depending on the region.
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Phthalic anhydride: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
Supply is anticipated to increase in the third quarter of the year as major PA producers complete their plant turnarounds. Producers in India and China are also considering exporting cargoes into southeast Asia amid the expected oversupply in their own respective markets. Suppliers in both markets do not typically export cargoes into southeast Asia.
Demand in the key China market is anticipated to remain muted as domestic cargoes remain cheaper than spot import cargoes. In southeast Asia, demand is expected to remain stable, supported by downstream plasticizers. Without demand from India, buyers in southeast Asia are expecting further downward pressure on the PA prices.
The third quarter has started in a largely balanced situation. There are some planned summer outages for a few producers, although they are not expected to cause any issues and all contracts will be covered. Deza and Atmosa will carry out work in August, while Perstorp and Lakokraska will have a turnaround in September.
Demand traditionally tails off in late-July and August due to summer shutdowns for consumers. There were signs that buying interest had already been curtailed during the first half of July. September can be a buoyant month as customers replenish inventories, although it remains to be seen if expected growth rates of 4-10% for 2018 can be met.
US phthalic anhydride (PA) supply is expected to be normal during the third quarter with no known planned maintenance taking place. Supply is expected to be balanced with typical summer demand, which may taper in August amid late-summer holidays but pick up again in September.
US phthalic anhydride (PA) demand is expected to be steady during the third quarter and generally balanced with US supply levels. A late-summer lull in business may lead to decreased demand, but business generally picks back up in September. Prices have potential to rise on the back of increased costs.
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Phthalic Anhydride Methodology
About Phthalic anhydride
Phthalic anhydride (PA) occurs as white solid in various forms or clear molten liquid, with an irritating odour. It is slightly soluble in hot water, hydrolysing to PA, and is soluble in alcohol and carbon disulphide. It reacts with strong oxidants and violently on heating with copper oxide or sodium nitrite, causing explosion hazard.
The major outlet for PA, accounting for just over half of production, is in the manufacture of phthalate plasticisers, the main product being dioctyl phthalate (DOP) which is used as a plasticiser in polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The second largest outlet is in unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) which are usually blended with glass fibres to produce fibreglass-reinforced plastics. Principal markets are construction, marine and transportation.
The third largest outlet is PA-based alkyd resins, which are used in solvent-based coatings for architectural, machinery, furniture and fixture applications.
Small volume uses for PA include the manufacture of dyes and pigments, detergents, herbicides and insecticides, fire retardants, saccharin and polyester resin cross-linking agents.