The Maleic Anhydride markets are covered weekly by ICIS in Asia, Europe and the US. Our locally based reporters gather benchmark pricing assessments for both liquid and flake/molten material. Contracts are agreed in all three regions, while spot price updates are for Asia and Europe only.
The news and market intelligence that supports any price movements, gives details on demand, supply, regional updates, upstream activity, production news and any other influencing factors at the time of publication. This universally trusted insight ensures you have the information you need to make key strategic business decisions.
Updated to Q3 2018
Some producers in Asia will continue focusing on catering to domestic demand in their respective markets during the third quarter and are not keen to export cargoes into southeast Asia. A few producers will continue to divert their cargoes to Europe, the US and the Middle East – amid better netbacks compared with Asia.
Demand from the downstream unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) sector is expected to remain stable during the third quarter. Some buyers said they had stockpiled sufficient inventories in anticipation of continued upward pressure arising from firmer feedstock butane prices. As a result, they may remain on the sidelines during the quarter.
There was some planned maintenance due in the third quarter from ESIM, Polynt and Gikil. All contractual obligations were expected to be met, but could reduce spot volume. Fresh imports are expected in July and with the summer season kicking in, good availability is anticipated for the third quarter, pending any unplanned issues.
Decent demand is expected to remain through most of July, but then the summer slowdown is expected to kick in as various customers have summer closures. September though can be a fairly strong month as sources restock, so some were confident of a buoyant end to the quarter.
MA supply is set to lengthen as turnarounds wrap up and production normalizes. The markets will balance out as demand remains healthy during the peak season. MA demand is closely tied to general economic growth, with The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting that the US GDP growth rate will be 2.9% in 2018.
No price increases are expected to come out for MA, but market players will continue to monitor crude and feedstock butane prices in light of the recent non-committal deal struck by OPEC. Demand and feedstock costs will drive the markets in the third quarter.
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Maleic anhydride (MA) is derived from butane in the US. In Europe and Asia, MA is derived predominantly from butane units, although a small amount is produced by benzene units.
Maleic anhydride (MA) occurs as colourless or white crystalline flakes with strong acrid (pungent) odour. It is soluble in acetone, ether, petroleum fractions and reacts with water, evolving heat and forming MA. It also dimerises to 1,2,3,4 -cyclobutane tetracarboxylic acid dianhydride in the presence of UV light.
MA is mostly used to make unsaturated polyester resins (UPRs). UPRs are used in a wide range of applications including bathroom fixtures and automobiles.
The second-largest outlet for MA is 1,4 butanediol (BDO) and derivatives tetrahydrofuran (THF) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL).
MA is available as liquid (molten) or solid (flake): the liquid form dominates and accounts for 90-95% of the market, which is not easily transportable.
MA is produced commercially by the oxidation of benzene or butane. The butane-based process is considered to have superior economics and is the preferred route by most producers. However, a small amount is produced by the benzene route.