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 Q3 2017
US toluene prices are likely to be largely flat through the third quarter. The summer driving season has been disappointing this year and the upcoming passing of the summer season may result in softer demand for toluene as a gasoline blendstock. US refineries have been operating at high rates throughout much of the second quarter, resulting in sufficient supplies for toluene in the market. Toluene demand may receive ongoing stimulus from toluene disproportionation (TDP) units, which are running at high rates at the start of the quarter to take advantage of the wide spread between toluene and benzene.
The European toluene market has seen improved demand at the start of the second half of the year although any positive indications mostly relate to contractual volumes and not so much to the spot business. Prices are expected to keep tracking values in the Eurobob gasoline market as well as price developments in the crude oil market. While toluene is traditionally more of an export product, currently there are hardly any arbitrage opportunities open, whereas, at the beginning of the year, there had been material requests from some unusual destinations like Pakistan.
For the third quarter, market players are expecting to see a slow momentum in July first because of the weak import demand in most regions such as China, southeast Asia and India for various reasons such as balanced-to-long inventories, holiday and monsoon seasons. However, some positivity in market sentiment is likely to start in August all to way to September as the seasonal peak demand in China and India starts to kick in. Supply availability is not likely to see much change in the third quarter, as cracker-based producers continue to find full-range naphtha as a more attractive feedstock in comparison to LPG and refinery-based units on turnarounds are expected to come back online from mid-July onwards. However, there is still an air of cautiousness because of some plant start-ups expected in September within domestic China, which could have a negative impact on trading sentiment overall.
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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.