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Updated to Q3 2019
Supply for dioctyl phthalate (DOP) was low in the quarter as producers were running their plants at lower rates in order to reduce the impact of negative margins. Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) supply saw a cut in the summer, as producers faced weak margins, before recovering slightly at the end of the quarter. Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) supply was generally stable with producers running their units at full capacity.
Demand for diisononyl phthalate (DINP) was generally stable, but fell slightly during the summer season before recovering at the end of the quarter. There were also signs that demand was shifting to smaller-sized parcels. Dioctyl phthalate (DOP) demand was poor throughout the quarter and saw no signs of improvement, attributed to poor demand from China and a weak economy. Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) demand was stable for most part of the quarter.
Supply of dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) was healthy through Q3 as there were plenty of offers of imported material from Sibur, South Korea, Turkey and the US. Grupa Azoty Zak’s additional 15,000 tonnes/year line is technically ready, but production has not yet commenced. Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-propyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) also remain in good supply. There is some shuffling on the DINP and DOTP markets as some buyers can alternate between the two grades depending on cost.
Demand hit its traditional quiet period in the summer as many downstream users carried out maintenance during the end of July/August. Sources typically expect to see a healthy September as buyers replenish stocks after the summer, but for this year, while consumption was better than August, it was not as strong as many had hoped. The macroeconomic outlook and uncertainties have seen buying patterns adjust to more challenging times.
US third-quarter 2019 supply of dioctyl phthalate (DOP), dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) continued to lengthen on waning seasonal demand. Storage of those products is at capacity, and that market participants were unable to take advantage of lower offers. Despite a brief and nominal resurgence in demand early in the quarter, volumes continued to lag year-ago levels. Spot pricing was mostly weaker during the quarter, tracking upstream propylene and oversupply.
US third-quarter 2019 buying interest for DOP, DOTP and DINP broadly weakened during the waning days of delayed and below-average downstream architectural and automobile coatings demand. Demand also was limited by uncertainty surrounding the US-China trade dispute and economic and weather-related headwinds that opened 2019 and have kept year-on-year demand soft, stretching plasticizers inventories. Although Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, the season has not yet been interruptive to domestic production.
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Plasticizers are chemical compounds or additives that are added to polymer material to alter the physical properties to achieve certain characteristics such as flexibility and durability. These are applied in various types of products in every industry from synthetic fabrics to plastics packaging and automotive. Plasticizers are categorized into different families falling under phthalates or non-phthalates.
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