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.
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Polyols: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2017
Supply will likely increase along with the expected start-up of Juyuan Chemical's polyols plant in Jilin, China, in H2 October, with the plant mainly producing flexible slabstocks. Moreover, Sadara's first batch of flexible slabstocks is expected to arrive in China in late October.
Demand from the downstream polyurethane (PU) foam sector will likely be maintained in Q4 despite September and October being the traditional peak demand season. This is because China prices of other feedstock used in PU foam production – PMDI and TDI – are not expected to fall drastically from their recent highs.
European polylols participants are waiting to see if material from Sadara Chemical Company’s Jubail facility in Saudi Arabia arrives to their region. The site started up in July with a 400,000 tonne/year capacity and initially European sources said volumes from the plant would be sent to the Middle East and Africa.
The start of the fourth quarter mostly sees higher demand in the Europe polyols market. However, by the end of the quarter, consumption typically decreases in the market.
Supply in the final quarter is expected to remain stable as the market continues to adjust to the uptick in isocyanates prices. The main factor would be prices of feedstock propylene oxide in China amid ongoing environmental checks and restrictions. Polyols prices are expected to continue tracking prices in China in the final quarter of 2017.
Demand is expected to remain generally stable. The key issue for buyers would be availability and prices of isocyanates. Buying interest has lost ground as polyols producers tried to pass on the costs of PO prices to end-users. Some buyers were believed to be on the sidelines on hopes polyols prices will track PO prices lower in coming weeks.
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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.