The ICIS Polyols reports are published weekly in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US. This independent and unbiased pricing information covers a variety of grades including slabstock, high resilience, conventional and foam depending on the region.
Our locally-based network of reporters provide details of the factors affecting price movements. Commentary includes overviews, economic news, graphs, feedstock updates, demand and supply issues. This market intelligence will give you the confidence to make informed business decisions.
Updated to Q2 2020
Spot supply in Asia was constantly ample, with most producers running their units regularly with no significant production issues. With certain regions such as India in lockdown for most of Q2, material was persistently abundant as uptake was compromised. In terms of production cost, there was increasing pressure on polyols makers amid gains in upstream PO prices, leading to higher offers towards the later part of the quarter.
Demand of polyols was tepid throughout Q2 in Asia, as the pandemic brought about lockdowns and movement restrictions which greatly dampened downstream demand from the key foam industry among others. Other grades such as rigid foam was not as affected, with a lower usage of PO in its production. Improvement in uptake was gradually seen towards the second half Q2, as the lockdowns and movement restriction eased around the region.
Polyols supply fell in the Middle East during Q2. Supply for POP, conventional and rigid polyols tightened as many producers shifted cargoes to China amid stronger demand conditions there. This was exacerbated by rising PO feedstock prices in China, which squeezed margins for Asian polyol markers.
Polyols demand collapsed in the Middle East during Q2 amid lockdown measures and stagnant downstream demand. With downstream consumer sentiment remaining weak and industrial activity hampered by disruption in supply chains, the POP and conventional polyol markets became muted. Rigid polyols, however continued to see some demand, largely from the construction sector, which was relatively less affected by lockdown restrictions.
Blunted polyols demand in Q2, resulting from impact of the coronavirus pandemic and competition among producers, left the market with excess volumes and pushed prices to 10-year lows. Polyols supply from Repsol normalised after it lifted a force majeure at its two production sites in Spain, although some grades remained limited.
Demand for polyols plummeted in Q2 due to swathes of foam-producing industries closing as the coronavirus pandemic hit the region and lockdowns were enforced. Retail outlets selling furniture and mattresses began to reopen later in Q2, sparking hopes of a summer recovery.
Polyether polyol availability in the US was ample during the second quarter as the economic crisis touched off by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent containment measures resulted in a steep drop-off in overall consumption levels. Supply had been sufficient to meet the market’s needs even before the economic contraction seen in the second quarter.
Demand for US polyols and polyurethane systems plunged during the second quarter as widespread movement restrictions resulted in steep consumption losses in major consumer segments for polyols. Polyols are mostly used in the production of durable consumer goods and these goods have seen a steeper loss in demand compared with other sectors of the economy during the current crisis.
We offer the following regional Polyols analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polyols marketplace.
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News & Analysis – News & market analysis specifically relating to Polyols
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Polyols are a primary polyurethanes component. A polyol and an isocyanate react to form polyurethane.
Polyols are one of the components used to make polyurethanes, the other being an isocyanate. There are two main types of polyols: polyether polyols and polyester polyols.
Polyether polyols are the most widely used with the main applications being rigid and flexible polyurethane foams. Rigid foams are used mainly in insulation, refrigeration, packaging and construction while flexible foams have applications such as upholstery, mattresses and seats. Polyols can also be used in elastomers, adhesives, coatings and fibres.
Polyester polyols compete with polyether polyols but may be preferred in some rigid foam applications because of their low cost and improved flame retardant properties. They can also provide improved wear resistance, heat aging and chemical resistance in elastomers, coatings, sealants and adhesives.
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