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Updated to Q2 2019
Supply for dioctyl phthalate (DOP) was largely stable in April and H1 May but producers cut production rates after slipping into the negative margin territory. Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) supply was largely stable but producers were mulling cutting rates late in the quarter as the market was suffering from the same predicament as the DOP market. Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) supply was stable for the quarter and with inventory for the grade relatively lower, producers were selling at higher prices.
Demand for DINP was generally stable but reduced slightly at the end of the quarter from Europe and the US as the markets were heading into the summer lull. In Asia, demand for DINP was supported by Japan, as the country prepares for the Olympics in 2020. DOP and DOTP demand was stable for most part of the quarter but tapered off as spot prices in China started to fall.
Plasticizers supply was healthy in the second quarter. The startup of Sibur’s 100,000 tonnes/year dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) plant in Perm, Russia, commenced, with material arriving in the Rotterdam arena. Only a third of the capacity is for export and not necessarily for the European market. Imports of Korean, Turkish and US material were also available in ARA. Both diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-propyl heptyl phthalate (DPHP) were said to be plentiful.
Demand was quite reasonable for some in the plasticizers markets and those involved with the construction sector spoke of steady levels of buying, albeit, not at the levels seen in the Q2 last year. Some consumers were stock-piling ahead of the intended Brexit date at the start of April and when this did not come to pass, it meant fresh demand was on the low side at the start of Q2 for these buyers.
US supply of dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) in the Q2 2019 was largely balanced to ample. Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) supply was more snug, which along with stronger May propylene, helped push the DOTP prices higher late in the period. Keeping the markets broadly soft was stable-to-soft demand largely from downstream markets where plasticizers are used in plastics or other materials to impart viscosity, flexibility and softness. Generally, economic and weather-related headwinds persisted.
Market demand of DOP, DINP and DOTP markets in the second quarter was mostly balanced with supply amid ongoing weather-related and economic headwinds that diminished usually stronger seasonal demand from end markets, although demand held relatively flat year on year. Uncertainties about US-China trade also weighed on market sentiment during the spring season, when some downstream markets usually experience peak demand.
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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.
Di-isononyl phthalateDo-isononyl phthalate
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