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 Q1 2020
Production was cut due to the coronavirus outbreak. While Saudi Arabia’s Petro Rabigh, Taiwan’s TPCC and Chang Chun Plastics, Thailand’s PTT Phenol had originally scheduled turnarounds in Q1, India’s Deepak Phenolics had an unexpected shutdown as the country entered a lockdown. China’s Sinopec Yanshan, and Huizhou Zhongxin shut down, while Chang Chun PC, Sinopec Mitsui Chemicals, PetroChina Jilin, Bluestar Harbin and Shiyou Petrochemical cut production.
Prices rose in January, from stocking up ahead of the Lunar New Year at the month-end. Most players expected a post-holiday price surge due to the slew of turnarounds scheduled in Q1, particularly at major exporters including Saudi Arabia’s Petro Rabigh and Taiwan’s TPCC and Chang Chun Plastics. However, due to the unexpected coronavirus outbreak, end-product demand plummeted, and post-holiday prices largely fell, except for a week where prices were bolstered by derivative IPA.
Phenol supply was reduced in Europe in Q1, as a result of a six-week outage of the region’s biggest plant, which created an ongoing force majeure. Later in the quarter producer Cepsa also declared a force majeure. Coronavirus-related disruptions led producers Borealis and INEOS to postpone planned turnarounds.
Demand for phenol slipped in Q1, as a slowdown in the automotive sector, and later plant closures resulting from the coronavirus, ate into demand for phenol used in capro and downstream nylon among other products. Demand for phenol from the construction sector saw mixed results, with some areas experiencing elevated demand for phenolic resins.
US supply had been tightening with the anticipated start of turnaround activity in late March. There was stronger interest for material, including the spot market, as players made advance preparations. However, some turnaround activity was heard to have been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. This and the crash in crude and benzene prices increased the likelihood of some players waiting for lower prices to emerge.
Demand was steady, but the coronavirus created headwinds in the housing and auto sectors. The markets turned bearish as GDP forecasts were revised downward and concerns grew over a global recession. Meanwhile, US exports to Europe picked up in February amid a strike at a major phenol and acetone plant in Belgium, but they slowed down once the strike ended and operations resumed.
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.
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