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 Q3 2019
Fluctuating production rates in the Chinese domestic market continued to be a key driver for Asia prices. During periods where production rates fell, be it due to environmental concerns or inclement weather, tightening supply in China would lead to firmer domestic prices and, subsequently, spot prices throughout Asia. However, prices nose-dived at the end of the quarter after Chinese producers cut their offers in response to high inventories.
Demand and consumption in southeast Asia were largely stable from the second quarter, though weaker compared to a year earlier. Demand in India fell due to the monsoon season and had yet to show signs of recovery by the end of the quarter. Some Asian producers thus chose to export to other regions such as the Middle East and Africa, which offered better demand and netbacks.
European methylene chloride supply was mostly stable in the third quarter with no significant changes. There were no impacts on prices from planned or unplanned maintenance noted to have taken place in Q3. The export market saw lower supply towards the end of the quarter as a result of the Chinese National Day celebrations in early October, but this did not cause significant price changes.
European methylene chloride demand was lower for some applications in the third quarter as a result of the weaker economy. Methylene chloride’s downstream applications include metal cleaning and finishing and as a chemical process intermediate, applications which are strongly connected to overall economic trends. The European economy is weak as a result of increased trade tensions, the UK’s upcoming exit from the EU and a more pessimistic mood. Pharmaceutical applications were not so strongly impacted, according to sources.
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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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