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 Q4 2017
Producers will be keeping operating rates high at toluene disproportionate (TDP) units in the northeast Asian region until the end of the year because of firm benzene spot prices, resulting in a surplus of isomer-grade xylene cargoes. Other producers are contemplating production cutbacks at their refineries amid high feedstock naphtha costs.
Amid a wide PX/isomer-grade xylene spread, together with firm downstream PTA demand, most regional PX plants were heard to be operating at an average of 90-100% output. However, most end-users are relying on contractual volumes to meet production needs. In addition, they expect spot prices to weaken amid a length in supply for the last quarter.
No big change is expected in the supply and demand balance of the European MX market. Availability of material is abundant and will probably increase ahead of the year's end while export opportunities are not considered a strong likelihood.
MX demand in the European market is expected to remain stable during the fourth quarter and volumes will probably drop closer to the Christmas holiday break. Volumes from the main downstream markets are also looking unchanged, while export opportunities from India might be a possibility, but probably for early 2018.
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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.