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 Q1 2019
Asia melamine supply is expected to remain long in the first quarter of 2019 amid the oversupply in China, which may put a cap on potential price rise. Major Chinese plants may operate at reduced rates to cope with the lengthened supply in coming months.
Downstream demand may remain weak in January as some downstream plants in China will shut down earlier than usual amid the slowing economy in the country. Possible re-stocking activities are likely to take place after the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls in early February.
Supply is plentiful in Europe and is expected to remain at this level throughout the first quarter. There is also continued competition from overseas, with a significant increase in Chinese imports in 2018. This imbalance will impact first-quarter pricing discussions.
Demand in Europe will increase in the first quarter, but traditionally takes a few weeks to ramp up in January. Players will focus on replenishing stocks, with the supply chain empty at this point of the year. Export demand is also expected to start well in January.
The US and global melamine market is well supplied at the start of 2019, following turnarounds in all key regions during 2018. The US in 2019 will continue to import most of its melamine from the Netherlands, Trinidad/Tobago and Germany. But, US imports from Japan should increase in 2019, after a big drop in 2018 amid turnarounds by both producers.
The first quarter is typically the lowest demand quarter of the year. But demand begins to rise during the quarter in advance of higher demand in the construction industry in the second quarter. US melamine exports in the first quarter should follow the same trend as 2018, with the UK being by far the largest destination for US material. Other key destinations for US exports in 2019 include Canada, Brazil, Colombia and the Netherlands.
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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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