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 2021
Supply tightened in the first half of Q2, as some producers shut their plants for planned turnaround, along with some ongoing plant outages. Supply recovered subsequently, with some plant operations partially or fully resuming. Some deep-sea cargoes were available in southeast Asia as well.
Demand in the import market of China was lukewarm. Downstream consumption was slow in China on persistent cost pressure, which weighed on demand for import cargoes. Buying sentiment in southeast Asia was weak as a result of surging COVID-19 cases, with lockdown restrictions in certain regions.
Supply was extremely tight at the beginning of the quarter, driving spot prices to hit record highs. Glycol ethers supply grew progressively as the quarter continued. Dow Chemical’s force majeure on European supply was lifted, while BASF’s continued, according to sources. Meanwhile, upstream n-butanol (NBA) force majeures were lifted by Sasol and Grupa Azoty, which also helped ease constraints on glycol ethers production.
European glycol ethers supply was consistently healthy in Q2, which is traditional peak demand season for paints and coatings. Supply shortages at the start of the quarter eased, though demand remained healthy throughout. Industries such as automotive and construction performed well and as such coatings demand was strong.
Updated to Q1 2021
Already tight Q1 supply of US glycol ethers butyl glycol (BG), butyl di-glycol (BDG), propylene glycol methyl ether (PM) and propylene glycol methyl ether acetate (PMA) worsened following a mid-February winter storm that forced petrochemical outages in the southern US. That led to some severe allocations of glycol ethers, but those strictures were beginning to ease as the quarter ended. Producer and customer supplies of key raw materials also remained stymied by ongoing transportation constraints.
US BG, BDG, PM and PMA demand from the coatings and cleansers markets continued steady to stronger throughout Q1 despite some mid-quarter slowdowns in the housing markets caused by the winter storm. Month-on-month housing starts were down in February, as were sales of existing homes and new single-family homes attributed to low inventories and rising costs for lumber and other materials. Also, coronavirus cases were volatile during the period, with the disinfectants markets remaining strong.
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.
More information about the price reports we publish on Glycol ethers
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News & market analysis specifically relating to Glycol ethers
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
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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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