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 Q2 2018
Supply is likely to rise after April, following plant restarts expected in Taiwan and South Korea from both scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns. Southeast Asian cargoes will continue to be ample, as per the first quarter.
Buying activity from both Chinese and Indian importers will increase as they need to replenish their stocks following a hiatus from the market since March. This was amid the lower stock levels at public shoretanks in east China and west coast India ports. Southeast Asian buying activity will likely record a surge in April and early May because importers could stock up before the Ramadan period starting in mid-May.
Players are confident material availability will remain good during the second quarter, unless demand from the TDI side picks up rapidly and leads to a more balanced market. In April, a plant in eastern Europe will go offline for planned maintenance.
The much-anticipated restart of BASF's Ludwigshafen plant in June is expected to start pulling significant toluene volumes and might help the market have a 'real' spot price despite values tracking Eurobob gasoline and upstream energy costs.
US toluene supplies are expected to improve in the second quarter as the majority of refineries in the US Gulf exit turnarounds from the previous quarter. Supply levels are also expected to improve on increased imports due to open arbitrage windows from other global regions into the US to satisfy increased gasoline demand.
US toluene demand is likely to increase in the second quarter as the spring gasoline season enters full force. Increased gasoline demand will increased demand for octane-enhancing aromatics such as toluene and mixed xylenes (MX). Increased demand is also likely to increase trading activity during the quarter.
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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.