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 Q2 2020
Supply was very tight in the first half of Q2 as Asian suppliers had to cater to customers in Europe and the Americas, on top of their regular Asian routes. Orders were filled up very quickly, with some concluded months ahead, following the coronavirus outbreak. Towards the end of Q2, however, supply was deemed sufficient, with Asian buyers sitting on ample stocks.
As Europe and the Americas saw tight supply, enquiries flooded into Asia. This was in addition to more enquiries from Asia, where some smaller buyers who usually procure in their domestic markets preferred to import during this period. Subsequently, demand dropped due to more competitive ethanol values, for end-use in hand sanitizers and rubbing alcohols. Also, as panic buying settled, enquiries were fewer.
Operating rates ramped up in March to cope with the demand surge from the sanitation sector and stayed at their highest throughout Q2. However, imports from Asia rose substantially in the second half of the quarter as European buyers started mass ordering in early March when it became apparent that the market would likely remain short throughout the pandemic’s peak. The market re-balanced significantly in June, with some even speaking of length having settled in.
Demand into sanitation remained extraordinarily high throughout most of Q2. In June, though, most were sufficiently stocked up and still echo abated appetite for imported material. The level of improvement from May is mixed for traditional industrial applications such as paints and coatings because despite manufactures reopening in June, orders are taking time to trickle through. Printing inks going into packaging are still down from their March-April peak.
IPA supply increased in Q2, after initially facing tightness in April. IPA production ramped up throughout Q2, as suppliers sought to fill a much larger volume of orders than traditionally seen. Since IPA is an important component in hand sanitizers, it saw prices rise, in sharp contrast to many other petrochemicals. In addition to the increase in domestic production, imports from China, South Korea and Taiwan also arrived by May and further increased supply.
IPA demand surged at the start of Q2, especially in the first three weeks of April, as consumers and organisations sought hand sanitizer. In some instances, prices paid by end users quadrupled in under a month. Since then, prices have begun to fall, as demand stabilised. Although demand was much higher than traditionally seen, there had yet to be a second spike in prices following an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations starting mid-June.
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.