For the First Quarter of 2022
The phenol market in China declined first, then rebounded, and then fell again in March 2022. China's mainstream factories jointly raised market sentiment in early March. The price was roughly 10637.5 RMB/MT on March 31, 2022. The chemical is primarily employed as a precursor in the production of significant industrial chemicals. Because its chemical structure is made up of firmly connected hydroxy and phenyl groups, its functional properties are comparable to those of alcohol. As a result, it is often employed as a basic ingredient in commercial house cleaning solutions.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
In the final quarter of 2021, the market sentiments were drifting since the festive season in October. The supply in India had improved after increased availability in China following the energy crisis in the region. As margins were diminishing, a turnaround was imposed by Hindustan Organics at its phenol and acetone plant in India during mid-November. The prices rose phenomenally owing to the delayed resumption of operations at Hindustan Organics Phenol Plant. In the late December, phenol prices once again started to witness a drift due to a weak demand in the international markets for the product. The demand in India had been somewhat stagnant and market players were adjusting their revisions in the prices to clear the excess stocks as the year end approached In India, amidst the narrow demand, phenol prices were close to 1480 USD/MT in December.
In the last two months of the final quarter of 2021, the prices in Europe had consistently declined. In the beginning of the quarter, the freight rates and supply chain disruption had stabilized, but the energy crisis in the region allowed high operating costs. The demand for the chemical had remained dull, as inquiries fell because of the year end slowdown, even though manufacturing costs were firm. This weak demand and excess supply caused the prices to tumble at around 1725 USD/MT in December.
In the final quarter of 2021, North America had witnessed a constant decline in demand as supply improved appreciably. In quarter 3, the supply was restored gradually after the Ida hurricane as plant operations were resumed. The plant operating capacities returned close to the normal levels by the final quarter which led to an ample supply of the product. The demand dropped due to seasonal slowdown in the region for solvents from paints, coatings and automotive sector. The inventories had also build-up in several countries due to which export demand remained low. By the end of December 2021, however, the demand stabilized the downward trajectory of phenol in the domestic markets. In the US, FOB phenol prices were recorded at 1470 USD/MT in December.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
In the beginning of the first quarter, the supplies in Asia improved as maintenance turnaround periods ended in several manufacturing facilities. The supplies, however, remained tight as most operations were curtailed by the advent of the Chinese Lunar Year. The demand remained firm as the market observed a replenishment of stocks in mid-March, which was followed by a surge in demand from phenolic resin manufacturers. Acetone, which is a by-product of phenol, also witnessed high demands. The domestic phenol prices were thus driven up by the surge in demand while supplies were moderate. In India, the average prices in the first quarter of 2021 were around 1204 USD/MT and the CFR prices were 1016 USD/MT.
The Asia Pacific region witnessed a mixture of sentiments for the phenol market outlook in the second quarter of 2021. The second wave of Covid-19 had a devastating impact in several states of India but in spite of this the local phenol market demand remained mostly firm. Several producing facilities in the northeast regions of China had turnarounds which curtailed the supplies of the chemical significantly in the region. Mitsui Chemical Phenol facility in Sakai, Japan and Kumho P&B Line 3 in South Korea had been shut down temporarily for maintenance purposes in the months of May and June. The demand in China remained strong in the second quarter as the economies expanded and downstream demand from automotive and construction industries rose. The price trends witnessed an upward slope as the upstream benzene prices surged to record highs.
The FOB Dalian phenol prices were 1555 USD/MT in June. In the third quarter of 2021, several phenol plants in Asia and Europe had been going off stream as they faced challenges in operations which affected the supply fundamentals of the product in the region. The government in China imposed dual-energy norms which directed several plants to maintain low operating costs, which restricted the supply in China in September. The downstream industries which included construction and automotive sectors maintained consistent demands for phenol in quarter 3. The Indian markets experienced strong demand as producers continued to operate at optimum efficiencies to keep up with the local demand as global supplies of phenol dwindled. In the third quarter, phenol prices in India went from 1524 USD/MT to 1608 USD/MT.
The supplies in Europe were mostly constrained in the first half of the first quarter in 2021 as a result of turnarounds in several manufacturing facilities for maintenance and also the slowdown in activities in both commercial and industrial channels due to the onset of the second wave of Covid-19, which had caused a slump in the European economy as lockdowns were imposed. Nevertheless, the demand from the downstream industries was still high as the automotive sector witnessed recovery. The phenolic resin offtakes were also good as demands increased from the construction sector in the beginning of the first quarter. The supplies were tightened in Europe in the second quarter of 2021 due to the turnarounds in most manufacturing facilities. Inflows improved from the US which eased the import supplies.
The construction sector pushed the demand for phenol due to the seasonal requirements, while the demands from downstream sectors like automotive also increased marginally in the second quarter. Phenol prices in Europe observed an upward trajectory amidst the erratic supply and demand fundamentals and the inflation of upstream benzene prices in the global market. The revival in downstream industries was forecasted as vaccination programs were being promoted. In the third quarter of 2021, the price trend in Europe witnessed a downward slope. The domestic prices fell, following the price slump in the upstream benzene while the feedstock supply eased during the same time which caused phenol prices to go down in the third quarter. The Hamburg FD prices dropped from 1710 USD/MT in July to 1485 USD/MT in September.
Phenol prices were impacted significantly in the first half of the quarter 1 in 2021 due to the turnarounds at plants as turnarounds in the upstream cumene plants led to a feedstock shortage. The US Gulf region experienced harsh weather conditions which led to production outages which in turn resulted in a spike in phenol prices. The US-based Olin Corp had shut down in February, which also affected the market supplies. An extensive infrastructure plan allowed the growth of the non-residential sector, which affected the performance of the housing sector, driving up the demand. In March, the CFR Texas prices soared high at 2570 USD/MT. A substantial amount of supplies were directed to Europe as global supplies tightened. In North America, the overall outlook for the phenol market had improved as industries recovered in the US Gulf Coast in the second quarter of 2021.
Several production units restarted with better operating rates and the increased supply of upstream benzene allowed phenol supplies to pick up pace in the region, even though a few suppliers were unable to operate their production facilities for phenol at normal rates. The demand began to rise significantly from downstream industries such as the production facilities of Epoxy resin, Nylon and Polycarbonate which experienced high consumer demand. While the demand from the automotive sector remained slow, the major market was being driven by the demands from the building and construction sectors. In North America, FOB Texas prices eased at 1635 USD/MT in June. In the third quarter of 2021, phenol prices remained stable in North America. The supply and demand dynamics in the industry had improved, as producers were able to restore their production capacities close to the pre-storm levels. Phenol prices in quarter 3 had dropped from those in quarter 2. The reported phenol prices in Texas were around 1280-1320 USD/MT in August. Building, construction and automotive sectors also observed high demands throughout the quarter.
For the Year 2020
The phenol market in Asia remained dull as supplies overflowed with massive capacities of 400 KTPA in Zhejiang Petrochemicals, China. The situation was further attenuated as operations resumed in Mitsui Chemicals, Japan and Chung Chun PC, China with no known intentions of turnarounds till the quarter end. The manufacturers in the North Asia region were operating at maximum possible capacities. However, the inventories were being consumed with offtakes for derivatives.
The phenol downstream industries made no significant gains which reduced its demand in the region amid supply surpluses. Most manufacturers curtailed production as a response of the supply overhang. The market in Europe experienced dull offtakes, even though major manufacturers like Seqens and Domo Caproleuna went through a maintenance turnaround. The coronavirus resurged in the area which impacted the demand for phenol derivatives like Caprolactam and Bisphenol A in the automotive sector which ultimately reduced the overall demand for the chemical with no hopes for recovery in 2020.
The market was balanced in North America as leading manufacturers like Shell and SABIC implemented turnarounds which outstripped the surplus supplies. The Asian market was already overflowing with the supplies after China contributed massive additions, which thus distinguished the export potential for North America as it reduced the demand from major consumers. The downstream industries of phenol, like construction and automotive, showed promising recovery but the traders were careful about the demand dynamics and uncertainties due to the consistently rising coronavirus cases in the region.
In 2020, the Brazil phenol industry experienced a demand of 126.8 thousand tonnes. During the covid-19 pandemic, several end-user industries were shut down due to the lockdown which had severely impacted the demand in Brazil along with supply chain disruptions and trade barriers due to the restrictions in transport facilities.
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Phenol. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.
Procurement Resource provides prices of Phenol for several regions around the globe, which are as follows:
Phenol is both a manufactured chemical as well as a natural substance. It belongs to aromatic group. It can be a colourless-to-white solid in its pure form. Phenol has a distinct odour which is sickeningly sweet and tarry. It is a crucial commercial commodity and is used as an intermediate to produce bisphenol A.
Chemical Formula of Phenol:
The production of phenol from toluene is basically an oxidation process. This reaction is carried out in a liquid phase and toluene is further processed to form benzoic acid as an intermediate in the production of Phenol.
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