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 Q2 2019
Supply was constant, as the higher plant run rates in China offset reduced import supply. In the week ended 28 June, the average operating rate in China was at 98% on strong margins in the phenol and derivatives sectors. Import supply was reduced by a slew of plant turnarounds and lower operating rates from technical issues. These plants included those of LG Chem, Petro Rabigh, PTT, Kumho P&B and Mitsui Chemicals.
Demand for phenol was strong with active discussions seen. The upcoming downstream 150,000 tonne/year cyclohexanone plant by CPDC China, located at Rudong, Jiangsu in east China, expected in the third quarter, also boosted market sentiment.
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.
In general, European phenol demand reduced from highs earlier in the year before mostly stabilising. Contract consumption was for the large part steady, but some buyers said they reduced their own production or cut volume allocation amid weak macroeconomics. Some of these consumers also attributed any drop in their offtake to a recent firmer phenol pricing trend. It was in this climate that enquiries for spot material also reduced.
US phenol supply increased in the second quarter as production and logistical issues were resolved and most force majeure declarations were lifted. One force majeure remained in place near the end of the quarter when a feedstock production issue arose, which is likely to keep the remaining force majeure in place for a nearby phenol producer. Although supply levels have improved from the first quarter, phenol remains tight with little material available for spot or export.
Demand remained robust early in the second quarter but began to slip amid underperforming automotive sector and a construction sector which began to lag late in the quarter. The automotive and construction industries are major outlets for phenol derivatives polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins. Demand was also hampered amid economic uncertainty caused by an escalation of the US-China trade dispute and an increase in tariff amounts. Demand into the nylon chain remained stable.
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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