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 2018
South Korean supply is likely to decline from July because of scheduled downstream plant restarts, but it is unconfirmed if other plants which had unplanned shutdowns would restart because of squeezed TDP spreads. Southeast Asian supply will increase from August after some producers ramp up their run rates after shutdowns/driving season.
Demand will vary from China and India in the third quarter, with June and July likely to remain slow as buyers digest current inventories at public shoretanks and supply from local makers. August will likely be when demand emerges from both regions following post-Monsoon in India and summer in China – ahead of their long October holiday season.
Third quarter European toluene pricing will remain swayed by bullish global energy prices, with crude oil jumping on the US-China trade spat. Supply-demand factors are countering this, with players confident of offers of product in Europe amid a balanced or healthy view of local supply.
Weaker demand is expected in July. BASF’s toluene diisocyanate (TDI) plant at Ludwigshafen, remains off line, though its competitors have had stable-to-healthy demand. Toluene arbitrage with the US is closed going into the third quarter. Weak European, US and Middle Eastern demand is reducing the pull on exports.
US toluene supplies are expected to continue improving throughout the third quarter as gasoline demand continues to stabilise from summer highs. Gasoline demand is expected to fall ahead of the switch from summer-blend gasoline to winter-blend gasoline which typically occurs in September. Supplies are also expected to improve on increasing refinery rates.
US toluene demand is expected to trend down throughout the quarter alongside stabilising gasoline demand. Gasoline demand is expected to tick down throughout the quarter before the switch from summer-blend to winter-grade gasoline, which typically occurs in September. The switch will decrease demand for octane-enhancing aromatics such as toluene for the gasoline-blending pool.
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Toluene news & analysis
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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.