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 Q2 2019
Methylene chloride prices initially softened at the start of the quarter, as supply resumed back to the normal. Shortly after, production issues plagued north China, resulting in heightened offers again. Spot supply from other northeast Asian producers were stable-to-soft, as one plant had a turnaround from June to July while another focused on other markets. Chinese supply stabilised before the end of the quarter after plants recovered successfully, and Chinese export prices saw less fluctuations.
Demand did not change significantly throughout the quarter, with prices dictated more by supply changes. Some sellers initially turned away from the Asia market, citing better netbacks and demand in other markets such as the Middle East, Africa and South America. However, these sellers returned their focus to Asia before the close of the quarter as they found it prices more attractive. Spot demand in India rose in June due to firmer domestic prices and tighter supply.
Methylene chloride supply was slightly lower in Q2 because of planned shutdowns in June which decreased availability in the domestic market. Global availability also tightened because of reduced methylene chloride output in China, which reduced competition for European exports in markets such as Africa and the Middle East. The European market remained balanced despite the lower availability, because demand was somewhat lower in Q2 compared with Q1.
European methylene chloride demand was slightly lower in Q2 compared with Q1 as the economic outlook became more uncertain due to increased trade tensions. Downstream consumption also fell. The southern European market saw a more significant reduction in demand, as markets such as Italy and export locations such Turkey, saw a higher economic impact than northwest Europe. The overall market balance was little changed despite the lower demand, as supply was also slightly lower in Q2.
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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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