The ICIS Polyols reports are published weekly in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US. This independent and unbiased pricing information covers a variety of grades including slabstock, high resilience, conventional and foam depending on the region.
Our locally-based network of reporters provide details of the factors affecting price movements. Commentary includes overviews, economic news, graphs, feedstock updates, demand and supply issues. This market intelligence will give you the confidence to make informed business decisions.
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Polyols news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Polyols analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polyols marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Polyols
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Polyols
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Polyols: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2018
Supply of polyols in the fourth quarter may be weighed down by some upcoming upstream PO plant turnarounds in southeast Asia. But in China, polyols supply is likely to hold steady, if not increase, as PO supply within the China starts edging up in the quarter.
Demand outlook continues to be centered on prior anticipation of a seasonal hike in quarters three and four. However, the likelihood cannot be dismissed that such an uptick in demand may not materialise if there is no fundamental improvement in various regional economic indicators.
European polyols supply was undisturbed by planned maintenance in the market alongside upstream production issues in the third quarter. This was partly due to low demand. Consequently, until consumption increases, availability is unlikely to be affected by any potential tightening factors.
Generally polyols consumption increases in the autumn months. However, demand was quieter in the third quarter as end-users bought alternative materials following a rise in price for downstream flex foam. It is unclear when these consumer purchasing trends will change and boost polyols order book volumes.
No major changes are anticipated in US polyol supply during the fourth quarter. Trade tensions with China may create some disruptions as there is a considerable volume of polyol trade between the two countires, although the overall impact of tariffs on supply is not yet clear.
US polyol demand is expected to stay stable in the fourth quarter. Demand from the construction sector may slow during the slow season for building while demand from other downstream applications is expected to remain stable.
Updated to Q3 2018
Flexible polyether polyols have been largely on the sidelines but the Middle East market is about to enter what could be a strong demand season in quarter three. Flex foam production in the region has been depressed by high prices of toluene di-isocyanate (TDI).
Demand could be slow at current elevated levels with producers having little leeway to increase prices. Rigid polyols is also expected to be stable, with very little upside potential seen.
News & analysis
Polyols news & analysis
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Polyols are one of the components used to make polyurethanes, the other being an isocyanate. There are two main types of polyols: polyether polyols and polyester polyols.
Polyether polyols are the most widely used with the main applications being rigid and flexible polyurethane foams. Rigid foams are used mainly in insulation, refrigeration, packaging and construction while flexible foams have applications such as upholstery, mattresses and seats. Polyols can also be used in elastomers, adhesives, coatings and fibres.
Polyester polyols compete with polyether polyols but may be preferred in some rigid foam applications because of their low cost and improved flame retardant properties. They can also provide improved wear resistance, heat aging and chemical resistance in elastomers, coatings, sealants and adhesives.