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.
If you are involved in this market these reports can help you to make informed commercial decisions.
Updated to Q1 2019
A key Chinese producer shut down its plant from a technical issue around mid-February, and the resulting loss in production caused domestic Chinese and export prices to spike. Near the end of the quarter, a few Chinese plants shut down in anticipation of a string of safety inspections after a major plant explosion occurred in Jiangsu, China. The other northeast Asia producers continued to have limited supply throughout the quarter.
In the key China market, demand was weak in January and February due to the Lunar New Year. In southeast Asia, demand was described as weak, with northeast Asia producers stating that they sold less volumes in March compared to February. This was due to a sudden jump in prices from China and also due to upcoming holidays in the region. In India, the market slowed due to the end of the financial year.
European methylene chloride supply was mostly stable in the first quarter, without significant changes in availability in the domestic market. Spot prices were consequently flat in both northwest Europe and the Mediterranean for the quarter as a whole, despite separate attempts by sellers to increase prices. In the export markets, early in the quarter supply was relatively high as a consequence of increased availability from China. This increase in supply faded away for the most part following the Lunar New Year.
Methylene chloride demand was regarded as constant, broadly speaking, for the first quarter in Europe. Views on demand were mixed, with sources in the south of Europe, in particular, seeing a more shaky situation for consumption because of economic uncertainty and lower manufacturing performance. This was offset by reports of higher demand in other markets.
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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.