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 2021
Although a major Taiwanese producer had a turnaround in May, this was more than offset by higher production rates in the much larger Chinese markets. The Asian market did not suffer from any lack in supply, although some northeast Asian producers targeted buyers outside Asia in search of higher margins. Chinese sellers also reported less demand from southeast Asian buyers and focused on domestic sales instead.
Southeast Asian and Indian demand weakened from surging COVID-19 infections and the resulting restrictions and lockdowns imposed, leading to fewer spot purchases. At the same time, spot prices were slightly firmer quarter on quarter, hence buyers had no incentive to stock up and chose to maintain lean inventories. In domestic China, demand was relatively healthy compared with overseas and producers noted slower sales for the latter despite softer offers compared with domestic levels.
Supply was restricted in Q2, following reduced production at Nouryon’s plant as the company sought to balance output at different chloromethanes. Overall global availability also fell as a result of higher transport costs due to a shortage of shipping containers. Strong demand for chlorine derivatives and other chloromethanes forced producers to reduce output for MEC in some cases.
Demand increased significantly as downstream industries recovered and the market returned to normal following the coronavirus pandemic. Demand was reduced in 2020 due to lower activity in industrial applications such as adhesives, metal cleaning and paint removal. Consumption increased in the first half of 2021 as restrictions were lifted and Europe adjusted to the new situation, with construction and automotive activity recovering strongly.
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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.