The ICIS Glycol Ether reports are published in Asia, Europe and the US on a weekly basis. Asia and US markets focus on both the ethylene and propylene based glycol ethers within this report, while in Europe these are published separately as glycol ethers and propylene glycol ethers.
Our locally based reporters gather market intelligence on demand, supply, upstream movements, production schedules and any other key factors influencing prices at the time. Follow our universally-trusted reports to help you make informed commercial decisions.
Updated to Q2 2019
Butyl Glycol (BG) overall inventory in China was maintain at low level following low import volume. Middle Eastern cargoes saw some delay in Q2 and the plant encountered production issues in May. Taiwanese supplier’s volumes into China dropped on unattractive netback, while South Korea’s supply and run rate dropped on cost pressure. In southeast Asia, local inventory remained ample with supply from deepsea, regional and Middle East origins.
BG demand in China was slow in Q2 on slow downstream consumption. Developments from US-China trade war impacted exports of finished goods, indirectly impacted demand for paint and coating sector. Explosion in a chemical plant in Jiangsu, China heightened safety measures and impacted production rate at downstream plants. In southeast Asia, there were several elections and holidays in Q2, so transactions were slow. Buyers largely bought on a hand-to-mouth basis amid a downtrend.
European glycol ethers supply remained ample throughout Q2 with no planned or unplanned outages in Europe or much impact from upstream turnarounds. Healthy production rates coupled with lower than expected demand kept competition between producers tight with some eager to move volumes ahead of Q3. Spot prices were stable-to-soft in Q2, continuing a downward trend in pricing which saw them near a three-year low.
Q2 is typically the peak demand season for European glycol ethers with increased usage in the paints and coatings industry. However, this year coatings demand did not match expectations and was exacerbated by ample supply conditions, which meant the market remained balanced to long throughout Q2. Demand firmed slightly between May and June, largely led by lower prices on offer. Overall, demand was not strong enough to meet supply in Q2.
Supply of US glycol ethers, which are used in coatings, inks, cleaning products, plasticizers, brake fluids, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, was ample amid flat-to-soft demand largely from the architectural coatings segment as downstream construction and automobile coatings continued to slump on economic and weather-related headwinds. Weakness from a slow first quarter failed to dissipate, delaying for yet another quarter a return to more typical market fundamentals for this time of year.
Demand for glycol ethers during the second quarter of 2019 was largely flat amid ongoing weather-related and economic headwinds that diminished usually strong seasonal demand for downstream architectural coatings and other applications. Those markets remained mostly sluggish as volumes broadly failed to reach seasonal peaks expected during the second-quarter spring paint and coatings season. Two upstream n-butanol (NBA) planned-maintenance outages in May-June had little effect on the derivative glycol ethers supply or demand.
We offer the following regional Glycol ethers analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Glycol ethers marketplace.
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News & market analysis specifically relating to Glycol ethers
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Glycol Ethers Methodology
A large proportion of glycol ethers goes into the paints and coatings industry, though other uses include inks, cleaning products, plasticisers, brake fluids, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic and personal care products.
There are two groups of glycol ethers: E-series and P-series depending on whether they are made from ethylene oxide (EO) or propylene oxide (PO). They are used mainly as a solvent in a variety of domestic and industrial applications such as paints and coatings.
E-series glycol ethers are used as solvents and coalescing aids in paint formulations while higher molecular weight glycol ethers are used in hydraulic brake fluids. They are used as intermediates to make esters.
Propylene glycol ethers (PGE) are high performance industrial solvents used in paints and coatings, cleaners, inks and other applications.
In the electronics industry, PGEs are used with other solvents in the manufacture of laminates and semiconductor processes for making circuit boards.
Other applications include agricultural, cosmetic, ink, textile and adhesive products.
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