The Methylene Chloride report is published weekly in Asia and Europe by ICIS’ locally-based reporters. The trusted price assessments cover spot markets in both regions. Unbiased and informative market commentary includes intelligence on regional movements, upstream impacts and any relevant production issues at the time of publication as well as a wider overview.
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Updated to Q2 2020
Supply fell in Q2 on month-long plant turnarounds by two major Asian producers, while several Chinese plants were operating at lower rates as producers sought to manage inventories, in light of falling demand in China and in Asia caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite lowered production, buyers did not experience supply tightness.
Demand fell sharply in Q2, especially in southeast Asia and India, due to restrictions and lockdown measures implemented to control the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of Q2, demand in India had strengthened significantly while many buyers in southeast Asia were still sidelined. In China, demand was mixed, with certain downstream applications showing stronger demand than others. However, in general, sellers noted lower sales volumes year on year.
MEC supply was flat or tighter in Q2. KEM ONE’s plant at Lavera, France suffered a delayed restart following a maintenance turnaround as a result of logistical difficulties caused by the coronavirus. In addition, INOVYN carried out a planned turnaround at its Tavaux, France plant.
MEC demand fell for some applications and increased for others as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Consumption in pharmaceutical applications, where MEC is used as a process solvent, was higher because of the crisis. Demand for industrial applications fell as a consequence of the lockdowns which took place in most European countries. As a result, consumption was not strongly affected in Europe although overall global demand fell.
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Methylene Chloride Methodology
Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane or methylene dichloride, is a chlorinated hydrocarbon.
Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, is a chlorinated hydrocarbon produced by the chlorination of chloromethane. Further chlorination of the mixture of chlorinated methanes results in chloroform and carbon tetrachloride being produced.
Methylene chloride’s ability to dissolve a wide range of organic compounds makes it a useful solvent for many chemical processes. It is also used as a paint stripper and metal cleaning and finishing. Other applications include aerosol propellants, foam blowing, extraction medium in food processes, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
While methylene dichloride is the least toxic of the simple chlorohydrocarbons, it has health risks due to its volatility. It is also considered to be a potential occupational carcinogen. As a result, alternatives have been sought in many applications.
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