Our weekly Melamine reports are published for Asia, Europe and the US. Price assessments gathered by our locally based reporters cover spot business in Asia, contract and spot in Europe, and contract only in the US.
The market analysis in the commentary section offers overviews of regional activity, upstream news, production updates, graphs, and any other key factors influencing prices. This independent market intelligence can assist you in making those crucial commercial choices with confidence.
Updated to Q4 2020
Plant operating rates in China were relatively high for much of Q4. From mid-October to early December, plant run rates were largely at 70% capacity or above. Producers in China were incentivised by higher prices in November. While supply in China lengthened towards the end of the 2020, the impact on the export market was limited as logistic issues constrained supply to buyers outside of China.
Demand in China was healthy after the Golden Week holidays in early October. Overall demand in China saw limited changes, apart from a slight drop towards the end of 2020 after prices in the domestic market started to fall, keeping buyers on the sidelines. In other parts of Asia, demand was generally stable in Q4, although some players were anticipating further price declines late in the quarter.
The market became less oversupplied as Q4 progressed. Various contributing factors shifted the market, including healthier domestic demand; production issues leading to reduced supply; and import delays due to shipping container shortages. Local production maintenances and unplanned issues tightened supply.
Demand was fairly solid and activity in December was better than expected compared to previous years. The do-it-yourself (DIY) sector largely supported demand as end-users focused on home improvement projects while spending more time at home during the pandemic.
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Melamine was originally manufactured by heating dicyandiamide under pressure.
Melamine was originally manufactured by heating dicyandiamide under pressure. Currently, melamine is produced by the decomposition of urea into cyanic acid and ammonia in an endothermic reaction. Cyanic acid is then polymerised to form melamine and carbon dioxide.
Its most important reaction is that with formaldehyde, forming resinous compounds of high molecular weight. The construction and automotive industries figure high in driving melamine growth. Container and coil coatings, laminates and flame retardant uses have all experienced growth in recent years.
Melamine is used in the production of moulding powder to make dinner ware, coatings in cars, fan coils and appliances. Other uses include adhesive resins, which are used in the making of wood panels for the construction of kitchens, bathrooms, furniture and flooring. Melamine is produced by heating urea, ammonia (NH3) and carbon monoxide, of which the resulting mixture of isocyanic and ammonia reacts over a solid catalyst at about 400ºC.
Melamine is moderately toxic by ingestion and a skin and eye irritant.
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