ICIS publishes week reports on the methanol markets in Asia, China, Europe and the US. Our trusted and reliable independent reports cover contract and spot markets in Europe and the US, and spot activity in Asia and China.
Market news and intelligence are analysed by our reporters in each location, and the information is reflected in market commentaries that include overviews, regional updates, production news, crude oil developments, plant capacities, graphics and shipping information. These reports are a valuable tool to allow you to keep up-to-date and abreast of factors driving prices, and ensure you are fully informed while making commercial choices.
Updated to Q4 2018
Supply should tighten seasonally, as methanol operations in many countries are likely to be affected by feedstock natural gas restrictions in winter. There is also confusion caused by the U.S. sanctions on Iran, especially in the key China and India markets, as buyers were unsure if they would still be able to finance purchases of Iranian materials.
Downstream demand was expected to remain strong in some countries and improve in others. In northeast Asia, demand should continue to improve after the end of the summer season. In India, demand should recover soon as the monsoon retreats, and as downstream buyers ramped up their operations ahead of the Diwali festival.
It is likely that new production will increase domestic supply and that exports will increase during the quarter.
The onset of winter will increase demand for methanol for anti-freeze and wiper fluid applications. Demand increases during the fourth quarter often lead to price increases for the period.
There is mixed opinion on how much new US and Russian production will boost supply in the fourth quarter. A hangover from the Russian World Cup chemical transport restrictions, which led to traffic jams bringing material into Europe, is expected to clear up. There is a strong global picture for methanol amid healthy Chinese methanol-to-olefins (MTO) demand.
Demand is expected to be stable and healthy for most end-uses. Globally, US President Trump’s targeting of Iran with sanctions from November 2018 is affecting oil pricing; there is concern it could pressure methanol players wishing to do business with Iranian producers. Historically, Iran has sent small volumes to Italy, focusing on India and China.
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Methanol is primarily used to produce formaldehyde, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and acetic acid, with smaller amounts going into the manufacture of DMT, MMA, chloromethanes, methylamines, glycol methyl ethers and fuels.
Methanol is a colourless, volatile and flammable liquid with a characteristic odour. It is soluble in water, ethanol, ether and most organic solvents.
It is primarily used to produce formaldehyde, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and acetic acid, with smaller amounts going into the manufacture of DMT, MMA, chloromethanes, methylamines, glycol methyl ethers, and fuels.
Methanol is seeing growing demand in fuel applications such dimethyl ether (DME), biodiesel and the direct blending into gasoline.
It also has many general solvent and antifreeze uses, such as being a component for paint strippers, car windshield washer compounds and a deicer for natural gas pipelines.
Methanol can also be used to extract, wash, dry and crystallise pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals.
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