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 2019
Asia Phenol supply fell due to Q3’s production cuts. South Korea’s LG Chem cut production to 90% at its Daesan plant. Compatriot Kumho’s Line 2 remained shut while Lines 3 and 4 reduced production to below 70%. Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC) reduced production to below 85%. Compatriot Changchun Plastics and India’s Deepak Phenolics ran at 90%. Mitsui Phenol Singapore (MPS) reduced run rates to 80%. PTT Thailand ran one line at 70%.
Summer heat typically impedes phenol production and downstream plastic and fabric demand. Pre-Golden Week, environmental checks conducted by government bodies at downstream factories became increasingly rampant, causing demand to dip further. Persistent slides in domestic Chinese currency against the US dollar during the China-US trade war clipped importers’ purchasing power. Buying activities picked up in H2 of Q3, following production cuts. Some importers stepped up their trades, expecting prices to rise further in Q4.
European phenol supply was balanced to tight in the second quarter, which represented a more stable situation since the start of the year when material was difficult to obtain. The increase in availability was partially tied to consumption softening. Although contractual offtake was steady, this drop in demand meant that spot volumes for some were readily available. There was market talk that production did drop on co-product acetone length.
Demand for phenol on a spot and contractual basis weakened in Europe in Q3. An expected seasonal pick up after summer was muted. Demand for downstream products bisphenol-A (BPA) and caprolactam (capro), both used extensively in the automotive sector, continued to slide along with weakening automotive sector performance. Construction demand appeared comparatively resilient, and phenolic resins demand was stable, albeit below 2018 levels.
Supply of US phenol in the third quarter increased amid resolved production and logistical issues. One force majeure continued through the quarter, but other issues which had begun in the prior quarter resolved. The closure of a cumene-producing refinery was a headwind to production, but feedstock remained available for production.
Demand for US phenol in the third quarter fell amid weak performance in some end markets. Sales of automobiles, a major phenol outlet, were down globally. The seasonal peak for the construction sector, also a major outlet, was less than typical. Other downstream sectors were affected by weak global economics and trade tensions.
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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