For the First Quarter of 2022
Due to severe Covid 19 regulations and the return of the virus in numerous Asian nations in late February, feedstock liquid chlorine prices fell in the APAC area. Manufacturing cost increased in Q1 due to disruption in production activities under the Zero covid policy. However, Covid's revival in Asian countries resulted in only a few inquiries from the home market. In the month of January, demand for the goods was lower than predicted. Furthermore, some chemical manufacturing enterprises in China, such as Shanghai, experienced shutdowns and output cuts, resulting in a decrease in the price of chlorine, impacting hexamethylene diisocyanate prices as well. In India, the price was evaluated at 158 USD/MT in March.
Due to suspended manufacturing and disturbed supply as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, the price of liquid chlorine increased in the European market. In late March, the European market experienced a supply deficit of chlorine due to various production decreases. Due to decreased material availability, manufacturers were forced to adjust their offers. Furthermore, demand for primary chlorine-consuming PVC remained robust in the European market, contributing to price increases. In the month of March, liquid chlorine prices increased by about 5%. Being one of the key feedstocks for hexamethylene diisocyanate, volatility in chlorine price affected hexamethylene diisocyanate prices as well.
Several chlor-alkali plant shutdowns in North America caused a spike in chlorine prices in the first quarter of 2022. In mid-March, an Olin chlor-alkali facility in Texas with a 3 million MTPA capacity was shut down. In mid-February, Formosa Plastics, which has a capacity of 736 KTPA, underwent a turnaround. Traders and manufacturers were put under strain as a result of these disruptions about the availability of resources and product costs. In March, prices in the United States were estimated at 122 USD/MT ex-Louisiana. Furthermore, strong demand for downstream PVC supported chlorine offtakes in North America.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
In October, demand for the feedstock increased significantly due to increased demand for downstream Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) resin from the pipes and fittings industry for the replacement of ageing infrastructure. Due to the fact that chlorine is a coproduct of caustic soda manufacturing, abundant caustic soda production coincided with a slump in PVC prices in India. In December, liquid chlorine prices in India were estimated at 125 USD/MT Ex-Works Dahej, owing to a decreased demand and supply mismatch.
Due to high energy costs and climatic issues, the availability of the feedstock in Europe remained limited. The supply of Vinnolit's Chlorine was further impacted by a force majeure at its caustic soda facility in the first part of the quarter ending December. Although supplies began to level out in late November as plant activity resumed, price remained high due to high energy prices.
Because the market dynamics of PVC and Chlor-Alkali are interwoven, limiting chlorine production as a result of low operating rates in numerous caustic soda plants as a result of Hurricane Ida has strained the supply of the chemical from mid-Q2 2021. The availability of the feedstock remained constrained as production in some caustic soda factories in the United States remained below the necessary level. However, after hitting an all-time high in October, prices began to fall in accordance with the gradual normalisation of production activity and the offseason dullness in PVC demand. Prices fell to 380 USD/MT FOB USGC in December as supply outstripped demand.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
The Asian market for the feedstock displayed conflicting attitudes from multiple downstream industries, while supply varied in several segments, influencing pricing. Following the Chinese lunar holidays, certain downstream customers claimed to be short on chlorine gas, resulting in a considerable increase in its value in this segment. In India, however, significant availability due to abundant by-product caustic soda production and decreased demand pushed down the price of chlorine. Prices in the Indian and Chinese markets fell in March, reaching 202.3 USD/MT and 211 USD/MT, respectively. During the third quarter of 2021, the Asian market saw a significant increase in the price of the feedstock. Bullish demand from the downstream PVC and agrochemicals sectors in India boosted the price of the feedstock across the nation. Due to significant Chlor-Alkali output in the domestic market, demand and supply fundamentals remained stable. As a result of the rise in offtakes due to favourable demand, prices in India reached 108 USD/MT in September. In Q3, the ample availability of inventory levels aided in meeting the country's total demand.
During this quarter, the European market saw solid demand from the household disinfection industry. On a year-over-year basis, Europe's consumption of the feedstock increased, but production improved sufficiently to meet this demand. Due to massive plant turnarounds, imports from the United States remained suspended. Furthermore, lower output at large Middle Eastern facilities hindered the region's supply activity. Overall, regional liquid chlorine prices improved little over the previous quarter.
Several industry players saw the European domestic market as tight in Q3 2021. During Q2 and early Q3, certain scheduled and unanticipated turnarounds at various European production facilities resulted in supply bottlenecks. Following the economic recovery in key European nations such as Germany, downstream demand remained constant during the quarter, with similar volume intakes. In August, European chlorine output totaled 842 kt, a 1.2 percent decrease from July's average daily production.
During this quarter, key chlorine manufacturers reported orderly pricing increases for bulk chlorine from downstream industries. The downstream disinfectants segment's demand increased month after month. However, unusual weather hampered the production of various facilities, lowering demand for liquid chlorine from industrial chemical segments such as pulp and paper, PVC, textiles, and so on, even if demand from the pharmaceutical segment remained steady throughout the quarter. In addition, other large factories, including Westlake, Olin, and OxyChem, declared force majeure on their chlorine operations in the Gulf of Mexico because to unfavourable weather conditions. During the March quarter, prices rose due to strong demand and insufficient supply.
In the third quarter of 2021, the price increased in the North American region. Five PVC factories along the Mississippi River in the United States were shut down ahead of Hurricane Ida's impact. Plants that produce up to 41% of North American PVC capacity gradually reopened following the incident but were hampered by a lack of crucial industrial gases. Due to a shortage of upstream VCM feedstock, Shintech, the largest US PVC maker, shut down its 1.45 million mt/year PVC operation in Freeport, Texas, at the end of last week. During this quarter, market analysts predicted that prices would rise as a result of Ida's onslaught.
For the Year 2020
Following the relaxation of COVID-19 limitations in key Asian markets, a number of chlor-alkali manufacturers announced that operations had returned to normal in the third quarter. A much-needed bounce back in the third quarter results enabled chlor-alkali producers to proceed with their scheduled forward integration initiatives in the chlorine-caustic supply chain, boosted by improved offtakes by many chlorine derivative manufacturers. The demand for chlorine value-added products remained strong in the third quarter, driven by increased consumption from healthcare and hygiene, drinking water, and other industrial industries, according to an Indian chlor-alkali behemoth. Reduced caustic demand, on the other hand, kept output low, leading industrial grade liquid chlorine prices in Southeast Asia to stay rangebound between 200 and 260 USD/MT CFR. Hexamethylene diisocyanate prices followed a similar trend.
Demand for the feedstock increased after a significant drop in Q2 as demand from downstream PVC makers increased following a big comeback in building activity later in Q3. Despite lingering worries of a second coronavirus wave in some European states, chlor-alkali operations settled at above 80% rates as lockdowns relaxed. Chlorine's prospects remained bright, market participants were observed attempting to achieve a balance between PVC and caustic, since the latter's sales remained under pressure.
During the third quarter, the North American chlorine business remained highly volatile, with supply primarily disrupted by outages induced by high winds as a result of Hurricane Laura and a succession of regional storms that followed. Despite declining demand for the by-product caustic soda lye, chlor-alkali production rates were around average in the first half of the quarter. Constrained chlor-alkali rates and a scarcity of chlorine feedstock for PVC manufacturing exacerbated the risk of a PVC export shortage for some US firms. Later, following a dramatic increase in inquiries for chlorine derivatives such as EDC (ethylene dichloride), VCM (vinyl chloride monomer), and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), demand began to rise.
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Procurement Resource provides prices of Hexamethylene Diisocyanate for several regions around the globe, which are as follows:
About Hexamethylene Diisocyanate:
Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDMI) is a clear liquid with no colour. Because of its exceptional characteristics, HDMI is a significant chemical building block in the manufacturing of high-value-added polyurethane.
Hexamethylenediamine (HMDA) and chlorine are used to make hexamethylene diisocyanate. Chlorine and carbon monoxide react to produce phosphogene. The acquired phosgene is reacted with HMDA, and HDI is generated as a by-product with hydrogen chloride.
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