The ICIS Isopropanol (IPA) report is published weekly in Asia, Europe and the US. Our price assessments cover spot activity and, in Europe, technical, and cosmetic and pharmaceutical grades are quoted.
Locally based reporters gather market intelligence and compile commentary to cover regional activity, production issues, upstream and downstream news, as well as economic indications. The independent and unbiased information helps support you to make business decisions with confidence.
Updated to Q1 2021
Acetone-based IPA supply tightened as many plants in China finally bowed under the increasing loss of margins since Q3 2020 and shut down. Even South Korea’s LG Chem reduced their run rates to 60% due to commercial reasons. The reduction of supply has barely impacted the Asian market, as appetite remained lacklustre with buyers sitting on sufficient inventories.
Demand was overall stable in Q1. The electronic grade saw modest growth. Industrial-grade IPA demand was slower amid high prices because of firm main feedstock acetone values. Buyers were mostly cautious, buying only as needed and keeping inventories low while closely monitoring the acetone market.
Q1 saw fewer IPA imports from Asia reaching Europe, which increasingly tightened the supply landscape into the second half of Q1. This was partly due to lingering tightness in container and shipping space on container boats globally. Higher prices for IPA in Asia also reduced appeal for European buyers. Limited availability of feedstocks acetone and propylene also contributed to a reduction in IPA output as it was competing against other derivatives in greater demand.
Q1 demand saw a net decline from a relatively strong Q4. Prolonged lockdowns translated into a consumption slump for sanitizing applications such as surface cleansers and hand sanitizing gels and wipes. However, uses in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics remained mostly stable. The pull from the construction sector via its use in phenolic resins production picked up again in late March after two months of slower offtake.
Although not as heavily impacted as propylene glycol and other products during the Texas winter storm in mid-February, IPA in the US Gulf also had issues that impacted production at several Gulf producer facilities. While availability was limited for some buyers from mid-February to early March, the situation improved by the end of Q1. Prior to winter weather concerns, propylene contracts had already begun to rise, leading to increased IPA production costs.
IPA demand was consistent in Q1. Compared with the latter half of Q1, when IPA surged during the first wave of the coronavirus, demand was down considerably. However, it was in line with demand from subsequent quarters, as the market adjusted to new conditions by the end of Q2 ’20 and hand sanitizer demand fell. According to market participants, some high-cost IPA from last year is still available.
We offer the following regional Isopropanol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Isopropanol marketplace.
More information about the price reports we publish on Isopropanol
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
News & market analysis specifically relating to Isopropanol
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
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Isopropanol (IPA), also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a low-cost solvent used in many industrial and consumer products and as an extractant.
Isopropanol (IPA) is a clear, colourless, mobile liquid with an alcoholic odour. It is miscible with water and ethyl alcohol and reacts with strong oxidants.
IPA, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a low-cost solvent used in many industrial and consumer products and as an extractant. Outlets include cosmetics and personal care products, de-icers, paints and resins, pharmaceuticals, food, inks and adhesives. It is also used as solvent for oil and gums and in the manufacture of fishmeal concentrates. Low-grade IPA is used in motor oils.
Other applications include its use as a cleaning and drying agent in the manufacture of electronic parts and metals, and as an aerosol solvent in medical and veterinary products. It can also be used as a coolant in beer manufacture, a coupling agent, a polymerisation modifier, a de-icing agent and a preservative.
Some chemical compounds are manufactured from IPA, in particular derivative ketones, such as methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isopropylamines and isopropyl esters.