The global Isocyanates markets are covered weekly by ICIS in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US. All the reports have price assessments on methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) for spot business and, where applicable, contract or domestic activity.
The up-to-date market news and analysis is collated by our locally based reporters and includes regional activity, upstream and downstream movements, production schedules, graphs and, in some instances, historical data. This provides you with a valuable tool to base your commercial judgements on.
Updated to Q4 2018
Supply of MDI is expected to remain long in nature, with no plant turnarounds scheduled for the quarter, and existing inventories rising due to slow downstream offtake in Q3 2018.
Demand outlook is mixed for the fourth quarter. On one hand, as construction activities typically slows down with colder winter weather in the fourth quarter, PMDI requirements from this sector are expected to slow down. But PMDI also has heavy application in the manufacturing of white goods such as refrigerators which usually sees good demand in the year-end festive consumption boon.
There will be more supply in the Europe crude and pure MDI markets after BorsodChem’s Kazincbarcika plant restarts. The Hungarian seller had a planned shutdown at the facility for maintenance that began in July and was scheduled to end in September. However, the site’s capacity was also set to expand in this time to 300,000 tonnes/year.
Europe crude MDI participants are uncertain as to when demand will revert to levels seen in previous years. A softer trend for contracts throughout 2018 should lead to order book volumes rising eventually. They initially dropped in response to upward price movements in 2017.
PMDI supply in Q4 is expected to be stable with most major producers expected to run their production plants at high or full capacity. There are some scheduled maintenance shutdowns expected in Asia in the period but this is not expected to limit supply.
Demand is expected to improve but price trends in Asia are expected to set the tone for the Middle East market, which is relatively smaller. Inventory levels are believed to still be fairly healthy and few were in urgent need for large volumes.
US polymeric MDI is expected to remain long in the fourth quarter as depressed prices in Asia will continue to push more product into North America. US tariffs on Chinese MDI may limit supply growth. China is a major exporter of MDI to the US. Monomeric MDI is expected to remain short.
US MDI demand may slow in the fourth quarter as the traditional slow season in the construction sector will lead to some drop-off in consumption. Other downstream uses are expected to see steady consumption from the prior quarter.
Updated to Q4 2018
Asian supply of TDI is expected to tighten in the fourth quarter on the back of a heavy wave of plant turnarounds in northeast Asia during the October-November window, affecting more than 300,000 tonnes/year of production capacity.
Demand is typically robust in the fourth quarter, assuming requirements from downstream mattress and furniture sectors keep up as anticipated. Consumption of such downstream products usually increases during year-end consumer buying sprees, but whether this will materialise this year remains to be seen, judging from lukewarm economic conditions at the macro-level.
It is possible that the global TDI market may extend into structural oversupply following the restart of German seller BASF’s 300,000 tonne/year Ludwigshafen plant in July. Although, French seller Vencorex stopped producing TDI for this reason in 2016 with the market remaining tight in 2017 regardless.
End users chose competing downstream products following higher Europe TDI pricing in the past year. It is unclear when TDI demand will jump back up as consumer habits influence future trends. A softening of contract price levels in 2018 could result in such a return in order book volumes eventually.
Supply of TDI in the GCC and the broader Middle East region is expected to be stable and prices are expected to continue on a downtrend. Some Asian producers are due to carry out scheduled maintenance shutdowns in the quarter but no shortages are anticipated after the restart of BASF’s Ludwigshafen plant in Germany and with Sadara Chemical also expected to continue toward its target output levels.
Demand could improve in Q4, which is typically a strong demand season for isocyanates. Price trends in Asia are expected to set the tone for the Middle East market, which is relatively smaller. Inventory levels are believed to still be fairly healthy and few were in urgent need for large volumes.
TDI supply both in the US and globally is expected to remain long into the fourth quarter. Demand destruction during last year’s significant run-up in prices has freed up some incremental tonnes while improved operating rates at new plants is also likely to keep global markets well supplied.
No major change is anticipated in TDI demand during the fourth quarter. Demand for polyurethane systems is anticipated to remain strong in North America, although demand from the furniture and bedding sectors may remain slower than expected in the next quarter.
We offer the following regional Isocyanates analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Isocyanates marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Isocyanates
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Isocyanates
Track historical price data
News & analysis
News & Analysis – News & market analysis specifically relating to Isocyanates
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets. Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Regional price assessments, published daily or weekly, enabling you to keep track of trading prices, understand price drivers/fluctuations and set a benchmark for contract price settl ements. ICIS offers reports on over 180 commodities across the global petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets. Information covered in our price reports includes:
Information is accessed online, via the ICIS dashboard service and is configurable to suit your preferences.
Produced by the ICIS Consulting team, these reports give a robust rolling 12-month price forecast, trade balances and in-depth analysis into where markets are heading – providing a valuable tool to support your short- to medium-term plans.
ICIS pricing intelligence is delivered to you online via the ICIS dashboard. Here you can view your reports and also access other useful services including related news, analysis, historical data and market alerts.
ICIS dashboard also makes it easy for you to create pricing charts, download price history and export data to create tailored analytical models.
ICIS weekly margin reports deliver the detail you need to understand how production costs and prices are affecting margins, enabling you to judge the likely impact on your business and optimise your upstream and downstream business decisions.
The Supply and Demand Window on the ICIS Dashboard provides a snapshot view of historical and forecast information for supply and demand, production capacity and trade flows – a key tool to help safeguard future investments within the chemicals market.
24-hour global coverage of breaking news in the petrochemical industry, including updates on production, shutdowns and key transacted deals, keeping you informed of market developments as they happen. The ICIS news service allows you to customise the market alerts delivered to your email inbox, providing the business-critical information you need straightaway.
An expert view of supply and demand comprising four fully-reconciled databases, giving you access to extensive data for more than 100 markets. Information is included on global and regional trade flows, production, capacity and sources of demand in the short-, medium- and long-term. Data can be downloaded, customised and queried to support your planning requirements and your strategic decisions.
ICIS provides specialist training courses across the global petrochemicals, base oils and fertilizers industries. Our training team of industry experts can help you increase your knowledge of the industry and gain the insight and know-how needed to operate and trade effectively.
Find out more about ICIS training courses >>
ICIS produces a series of highly informative and timely conferences. Extensive research is carried out to ensure that each programme delivers the information you need and addresses current industry issues. We source speakers who have the appropriate expertise and experience to deliver excellent quality papers.
Find out more about ICIS conferences >>
Working closely with you to understand your strategies, challenges and ambitions, the ICIS consulting team deliver tailored advice and solutions to suit your unique requirements. With many years’ experience of guiding business leadership teams, we show you how market conditions can make a positive or negative impact on your long-term plans.
ICIS expert consultants can provide your organisation with the insight, intelligence and data needed to build and grow your business in China. We can help you to gain a clear view on the short and long-term supply and demand picture in the chemicals, energy, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals and paper and pulp markets in China.
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.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Isocyanates, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
The main use for methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) is in the production of rigid and semi-rigid polyurethane foams, which accounts for some 80% of global consumption.
MDI: Pure methyl diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) occurs as white to pale yellow crystals or flakes with a slightly musty odour. It is soluble in acetone, benzene, kerosene and nitrobenzene. It reacts readily with water to form insoluble polyureas and may polymerise under the influence of temperatures above 204oC.
MDI is made available both in pure form and as a mixture of MDI, the dimer and trimer. Mixed MDIs is referred to as polymeric isocyanates or PMDI.
MDI is used mainly in polyurethane (PU) foams. Rigid foams are mostly used in construction, refrigeration, packaging and insulation. Flexible foams are used in furniture, bedding and transportation. MDI is also used to make binders, elastomers, adhesives, sealants and coatings.
TDI: The main outlet for toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is in the manufacture of polyurethane (PU) flexible foams used in upholstery, mattresses and automotive seats. This is achieved by reacting the TDI with a polyol to produce the foam. Smaller uses for TDI include polyurethane elastomers and coatings.
TDI occurs as colourless to pale yellow liquid or crystals with a pungent odour. All isocyanates are hazardous and must be handled with care. Skin contact must be avoided, as redness, blistering and possible sensitisation can result.
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US polyether polyol prices were assessed 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne) higher, tracking rising propylene feedstock costs. The main driver behind the recent upward movement in polyol prices...Read
BARCELONA (ICIS)--As the US-China trade war intensifies, China chemical markets will suffer further falls in margins and pricing, according to an ICIS consultant. In a podcast interview (see foot of...Read
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot import prices of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in China are likely to reverse from the current uptrend and head south amid an intense trade row with the US, sufficient supply and...Read
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s latest tit-for-tat move in its 10-month trade war with the US will hit some key chemicals such as polymers, aromatics and methanol. It announced late on Monday that it...Read
The ripple effects caused by increasingly ambiguous political and economic terrains are impacting every corner of the globe – but what does this mean for purchasing professionals working in the chemical industry? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from professionals across the value chain and unveil what the major players are strategising during these highly turbulent times with our new and improved interactive agenda.
On 5 – 6 September the 12th ICIS World Chemical Purchasing Conference returns to Boston ready to discuss the key challenges facing the industry now. From geopolitical and macro impacts to trucking developments and challenges, no question will go unanswered. Discover how the supply/demand balance is shaping the industry for years to come as the US begins to reap the effects of its shale gas capacities and how you can get on top with first-class purchasing strategies.