The reliable and trustworthy ICIS Oxo-alcohols report is covered weekly in Asia, China, Europe and the US. All four regions have price assessments gathered by our locally-based reporters that focus on market movements on n-butanol, iso-butanol, 2-ethylhexanol and dioctyl phthalate.
Europe also has a spot quote for diisononyl phthalate (DINP). The commentary gives additional background information on the factors influencing prices, such as demand and supply, import/export data, graphs and feedstock movements. This invaluable tool can be used to support you in making those crucial commercial decisions.
Updated to Q1 2020
Supply in east Asia was tight in Q1 as some producers cut run rates to manage their inventories. KH Neochem in Japan and BASF Petronas in Malaysia started turnarounds in early March. Deep-sea cargoes were relatively tighter after Oxea declared force majeure for oxo-alcohol in Germany.
Demand for 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) weakened as Q1 progressed, especially in China amid the virus outbreak. There were however still some regular demand elsewhere in northeast Asia but that too reduced after downstream plasticizers trended downwards. In the n-butanol (NBA) market, demand from northeast Asian buyers remained weak on poor sentiment.
Up until the end of February, supply of the oxo-alcohols, n-butanol (NBA), isobutanol (IBA) and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) was balanced to healthy. Oxea declared force majeure on 24 February following a fire at the neighbouring syngas unit. Being Europe’s largest 2-EH producer, this saw the market tighten for 2-EH first, but by the end of the quarter supplies of NBA were also considered to be on the snug side.
January and February were largely in line with expectations, but demand improved in March, with volumes described as healthy. While March can mark the start of the peak coating season, this was also helped by Oxea’s force majeure, and also an element of pre-buying as the coronavirus started to spread across Europe.
Supply of US oxo-alcohols was generally balanced with average demand early in the first quarter of 2020, though 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) tightened for a few weeks after a shipping delay attributed to the coronavirus limited supply of some 2-EH imports in February. That constraint prompted a couple of unsuccessful 2-EH price-increase efforts, after which supply of the oxo-alcohols broadly returned to ample levels. Pricing weakened moderately in January and March on pressure from weak propylene.
Demand for US oxo-alcohols continued largely steady during the first quarter of 2020 after a typical seasonally slow start. Some pre-buying also contributed to stronger demand in March as the outlook for spring buying interest began to worsen on stay-at-home constraints prompted by the coronavirus. Worker- and customer-exposure concerns brought temporary halts to some automobile production. Similar concerns pushed paint contractors to cancel some or all of their March projects.
We offer the following regional Oxo-alcohols analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Oxo-alcohols marketplace.
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The alcohols (NBA, IBA, and 2-EH) have some uses just as solvents, but are primarily used as feedstocks for other products.
The oxo-alcohols chain consists of n-butanol (NBA), isobutanol (IBA), and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH). Around 50% of 2-EH is used to make plasticisers, mainly dioctyl phthalate (DOP).
DOP is a plasticiser, which is material used for plastic, typically polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to enhance its flexibility and malleability. Di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) is also a plasticiser.
NBA is a feedstock for butyl acrylate and methacrylate, butanol-based glycol ethers, butyl acetate (butac), and some plasticisers. IBA is used as a solvent for nitrocellulose, in hydraulic fluids, and as a resin modifier.
Key drivers for oxo-alcohols are the construction industry (home and commercial), the appliance industry, the automotive industry and industries that need imperial coating material.
In addition, the alcohols NBA, IBA, and 2-EH have some uses just as solvents.
Health risks include irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory tracks when inhaled.
In Europe DOP has been re-labelled to a higher-risk category, featuring the skull and crossbones on packaging and machinery where it is used. DINP remains in the category below but is under investigation.