For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phenol market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phenol or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phenol market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Updated to Q3 2020
Supply increased, with on-spec capacity addition from China’s Zhejiang Petrochemicals of 400,000 tonnes/year.There were limited turnarounds, with China’s Chung Chun PC and Japan’s Osaka-based Mitsui Chemicals restarting plants in H2 July. Most Asia-based plants out of China were operating at full or close to full capacity. Port inventory levels were curbed by strong offtakes from some derivatives.
Demand saw a sharp plunge from early to late July, as China’s Zhejiang Petrochemicals was heard to be starting up its 400,000 tonnes/year line. Importers withheld procurement, concerned that prices might plunge. As the start-up was delayed, many buyers then rushed to purchase to meet inventory requirements. The new plant reached on-spec production in early September and was shut about two weeks later from equipment failure.
Despite run-rate reductions among Europe’s phenol producers in Q2, supply remained ample in Q3 as downstream consumption made only incremental gains. Planned maintenance by producers Seqens and Domo Caproleuna and some urgent repairs by Borealis during the quarter did not disrupt availability. High inventory levels from Q2 resulted in an overhang.
Demand for phenol recovered somewhat but remained severely dampened in Q3, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to impact the economy, particularly in the automotive sector. Consumption of downstream capro and BPA were hardest hit, while that of phenolic resins was less subdued.
Supply was lengthy for most of Q3, but became more balanced following turnarounds. SABIC and Shell started turnarounds in September. Operating rates were also curtailed because of lower downstream demand, but minimal concerns were expressed with regards to supply. Some material flowed to Asia, but the economics were unfavourable and exports were more constrained as the quarter drew to a close.
Demand continued to recover as the economy improved, although some sectors improved faster than others. The auto sector faced a bumpy road and may not fully recover until next year. The aerospace and oil and gas sectors performed poorly. Demand received some support from housing and construction. Concerns mounted as coronavirus cases continued to rise in some parts of the country.
We offer the following regional Phenol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Phenol marketplace.
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The primary chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol include phenolic resin, bisphenol-A (BPA), caprolactam, adipic acid and plasticiser.
Phenol occurs as colourless to yellow crystals, with a characteristic carbolic odour which turns pink on exposure to light and air. It is strongly hydroscopic, liquefying in moist air. It is moderately dissolvable in water, but very soluble in ether, methyl and ethyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, glycerol, benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The solution in water is a weak acid.
The main chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol are bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins, phenolic resins, caprolactam, alkylphenols, aniline and adipic acid. The largest market for phenol is BPA followed by phenolic resins.
Cumene-based technology is the dominant process to produce phenol. Here, benzene and propylene are reacted to form cumene, which is oxidised to the hydroperoxide, followed by acid-catalysed cleavage to yield phenol and acetone.
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Safeguard your future with the opportunity to discuss your expectations and learn from industry experts at The ICIS 2020 World Phenol-Acetone Conference, a biennial event in the calendar of professionals across the globe. You can get face-to-face time with existing suppliers or explore new business opportunities to initiate future connections.
As a global event, a worldwide perspective is reflected throughout agenda topics, speakers and attendees. With content covering regional trends and their impact globally, you can expect to gain insight on a variety of relevant topics