The Toluene markets are covered by ICIS weekly in Asia, Europe and the US. This reliable and trustworthy tool allows you to stay up-to-date with news and analysis and gives you the confidence to make vital commercial decisions.
Price assessments cover spot activity over the week as well as at close of business in the day, and contract prices are also published in Europe. This market intelligence is compiled by our locally-based reporters and commentary includes news on deals taking place, feedstock movements, demand and supply trends, outlooks, regional focus as well as graphs.
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Toluene news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Toluene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Toluene marketplace.
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Toluene: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2017
Unlike the strong performance in the third quarter, the market is expected to see an increase in cargo availability in the final quarter as production in northeast Asia rises, following plant restarts. Worries about increased supply have emerged because of squeezed spreads for downstream toluene disproportionation (TDP) production.
The seasonal lull in demand in the fourth quarter is likely to weigh on overall buying activity from end-users in several regions. India and southeast Asian demand is only likely to be strong in October due to stocking up before national holidays. Demand is likely to be particularly lacklustre in November and December.
The European toluene market is expected to see no significant in the supply and demand balance during the fourth quarter. Activity will traditionally slow down ahead of year-end and the lack of export opportunities will release more material in the European market.
European toluene volumes started to look softer in October and demand is expected to slow further before the Christmas break. Chemical demand appears to be stable, although the beginning of the new year may bring a change if BASF ramps up its TDI plant in Ludwigshafen.
Toluene supplies are likely to increase in Q4 as the majority of refiners in the US Gulf have either restarted or are in the process of restarting production following Hurricane Harvey. Moreover, supplies are expected to improve following the transition to winter-grade gasoline requirements by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Toluene demand is expected to decrease in Q4 as demand for aromatics in both the gasoline blending and chemical sector wanes in the winter months. The transition to winter-grade gasoline requirements is expected to result in lower prices over the quarter.
News & analysis
Toluene news & analysis
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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Toluene is a colourless, mobile liquid with a characteristic sweet, pungent, benzene-like odour. It is an irritant to the eyes, skin, nose and lungs. Toluene is a dangerous fire hazard and can lead to a flashback due to its heavy vapour.
The main chemical use of toluene is to make benzene and xylenes using a number of technologies.
Toluene is also used in solvent applications and is consumed in the manufacture of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) which is used in the manufacture of polyurethane foams. Smaller uses for TDI include polyurethane elastomers and coatings.
Other minor chemical uses include the manufacture of phenol, caprolactam, nitrobenzene, benzoic acid and benzyl chloride.
In non-chemical uses, toluene is used in large quantities as an octane booster in gasoline but most of that portion remains in the refinery streams.
There are three grades of toluene: TDI grade of 99+% purity; nitration grade at 98.5-100%.
The original source of toluene from coke-oven gas has been replaced by the catalytic reforming of naphthas and from pyrolysis gasoline co-produced in the steam cracking of liquid feedstocks. A very small amount is still produced from light oil formed by the carbonisation of coal.