The xylenes markets are covered by ICIS weekly in Asia, Europe and the US and daily in Asia. Independent and unbiased price assessments are quoted for isomer and solvent grade in Asia, solvent grade in Europe and for mixed xylenes in the US. Our network of locally-based reporters can provide you with trustworthy and reliable information upon which you can make informed business choices.
Our news and analysis within the commentary of the reports includes overviews, upstream and downstram news, production updates, tank inventories, outlooks, demand and supply and any other factors pertinent to the market at the time.
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Xylenes-Mixed xylenes: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2018
A number of plants in Asia have been scheduled for turnaround in Q2 2018, reducing production in the region. But the overall impact on supply will be mitigated as some downstream plants in northeast Asia will likewise be undergoing planned maintenance over the period. A producer was heard offering additional cargoes for the quarter as a result.
Demand in the second quarter is expected to fall further on the back of turnarounds in key downstream markets. Paraxylene plants in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China are expected to be shut in coming months for maintenance, limiting demand for spot cargoes. China’s import demand is beginning to emerge, with buyers seeking IX as an octane booster for gasoline, but bids were still considered low for the time being.
Apart from a plant in eastern Europe, which was expected to go offline in April for planned maintenance, the domestic market is not expected to face any particular constraints. Still, the start of the summer driving season in the US might mean the export flow to the US will restart in April or early May.
Demand is not expected to have any big fluctuations. Still, the summer driving season in the US, which runs from April onwards, should mean that more European volumes will be leaving for the US Gulf coast region.
US MX 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 MX demand is likely to increase in the second quarter as the spring gasoline season enters full force. Increased gasoline demand will increase demand for octane-enhancing aromatics such as toluene and MX. Increased demand is also likely to increase trading activity during the quarter and push prices somewhat higher.
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About Xylenes-Mixed xylenes
The major use for xylenes is in the production of paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX). They are also used as a solvent in the paints industry and for other solvent uses.
Mixed xylenes (MX) are produced by high-severity catalytic reforming of naphtha from which the C8 stream contains OX, metaxylene and PX, as well as ethylbenzene (EB).
Xylenes are also obtained from the pyrolysis gas (pygas) stream in a naphtha steam cracker and by toluene disproportionation (TDP) and transalkylation.
Mixed xylenes occur as a colourless, flammable liquid or crystals, with a characteristic odour. They are insoluble in water and miscible with most organic solvents.
Mixed xylenes are a clear, sweet and flammable aromatic liquid or vapour. They are harmful or fatal if swallowed or inhaled, causing respiratory tract irritation, eye and skin irritation or an allergic skin reaction.