“Phenol has a pretty good sensitivity to overall growth trends in the economy”, said Bartholomew, vice president, Americas, at ICIS Consulting.
The numbers come from the ICIS Consulting Global Supply & Demand Database. They show for phenol a 1% forecast growth in demand from 2015-2025 versus a growth in acetone demand of 0.3% for the same period.
However Bartholomew emphasised that the projections were long-term.
“Phenol should see some steady growth, but that’s the long-term picture… about today, we see a lot of short-term fluctuations in the market”.
The current situation sees acetone demand outstripping phenol, with phenol demand falling 0.8% from 2005-2010 and acetone demand stable over the same period. The lower phenol growth has led to moderated operating rates for phenol and shortages of co-product acetone.
The 2nd ICIS Pan-American Phenol and Acetone conference runs through Wednesday in Houston.