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 Q4 2020
Cargo availability was shorter in Q4, as turnarounds at some propylene oxide (PO) facilities in Asia curtailed the supply of raw material. As such, production of polyols was hampered for some makers, including a Middle East-based supplier, whose unit was affected by outage.
Polyether polyols demand was constantly strong throughout Q4, buoyed by limited stocks, which encouraged uptake among buyers. A preliminary announcement of anti-dumping duties imposed by the US on southeast Asia foam mattresses was made, causing buyers to adopt a cautious approach.
Supply tightened considerably in Q4, following issues at several major producers and as demand for flexible foams was unusually strong, continuing to beat producer expectations.
Strong demand was seen in Europe in Q4, as downstream demand for flexible foam benefitted from an ongoing boom in spending on home improvements, including bedding and furnishings. Demand from the automotive sector also continued to improve.
Polyols supply conditions remained unchanged in Q4 2020 as cargoes stayed limited with buyers constantly facing shortages. Volatility in upstream propylene oxide (PO) prices further caused supply to be unstable.
Demand for polyols witnessed a slump in Q4 2020 on the back of high prices. Towards the year-end, many buyers were unwilling to procure fresh stocks, keeping enquiries limited.
Supply tightened due to some production issues as well as feedstock supply problems. A force majeure at LyondellBasell’s PO plant in Texas limited operating rates for many polyol producers and caused at least one polyol producer to declare force majeure. The polyol sector has also struggled to restore inventory levels as demand recovered faster than expected.
Demand for polyols and downstream polyurethane systems recovered faster than expected in H2 2020 after a steep loss in consumption during Q2. Demand for durable consumer goods has been one of the main driving factors in the recent economic recovery. A trend seeing people moving away from dense urban areas to suburban areas has driven increasing demand for polyol applications in the furniture and bedding, automotive and appliance sectors.
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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Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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News & Analysis – News & market analysis specifically relating to Polyols
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets. Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
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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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