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Price Assessment

The price of Phenol

  • What are phenol-acetone price assessments?
  • How we assess the price of phenol-acetone CFR India
  • Evolution of phenol-acetone: a brief history of major changes

What are phenol-acetone price assessments?

We assess phenol-acetone assessments on a weekly basis. In Asia, both phenol and acetone were historically assessed on a CFR China and CFR Southeast Asia basis but prices will now also be assessed on a CFR India basis to capture higher spot market liquidity.

Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is a white crystalline solid, which has been historically produced through the oxidation of 1-methylethylbenzene, commonly called cumene, which is made from benzene. Starting with benzene and propene, the whole process includes three steps, with the only other major product being 2-propanone or acetone. Derivatives of phenol include phenolic resins, bisphenol-A (BPA), caprolactam, adipic acid.

Acetone, also sometimes known as 2-propanone or dimethyl ketone is widely used as a chemical intermediate in the production of other chemicals. Acetone is primarily used in the production of commercial products such as acrylic plastics, which are used for glazing, signs, lighting fixtures and displays. Acetone is also used in conjunction with phenol in the production of BPA.

How we assess the price of phenol-acetone CFR India

Weekly CFR India assessments are based on latest information sourced from the market up to the close of the assessment window at 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT) every Tuesday.

Platts considers trade and trade indications for phenol ASTM D2439-96, normalized to the Platts standard cargoes for assessment purposes.

Spot price assessments reflect a spot cargo size between 500 mt and 2,000 mt for delivery 15-30 days forward from date of publication, delivered to JNPT, Kandla and Hazira. Payment terms are by letter of credit 30-90 days, with applicable anti-dumping duty, or ADD, of up to $90/mt, normalized according to Platts standards.

Similarly Platts considers for assessment purposes acetone ASTMD329, normalized to the Platts standard.

Spot price assessments reflect a spot cargo size between 500 mt and 1,000 mt for delivery 15-30 days forward from date of publication to Mumbai, Kandla, Hazira and Vizag. Payment terms are by letter of credit 30-90 days, with applicable anti-dumping duty, or ADD, of up to $80/mt, normalized according to Platts standards.

Evolution of phenol-acetone: a brief history of major changes

The CFR China phenol and the CFR China acetone assessments were launched on 16 May 2006 as were the CFR Southeast Asia phenol and acetone assessments.

Over the last few years, India's demand for phenol has surged. However, domestic supply has not kept pace with India's rising solvents' consumption. Constraints over feedstock propylene, lack of adequate infrastructure and the fact that many mega-scale plants aren't integrated with downstream facilities has impeded the startup of new solvents plants in India. Just two solvents producers -- Hindustan Organic Chemicals and SI Group India -- operate in India at present.

But with domestic manufacturers owning a capacity well below the global scale, solvents imports have reached well over 80% of India's consumption, making it a prominent importer in the international market.

Meanwhile, China's import dependency is already slowing and could slump further due to rising self-sufficiency on the back of new plants start ups in 2015. In 2015, Shanghai Sinopec Mitsui Chemicals, CEPSA Quimica and Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. brought new plants online. The three plants, which have a combined phenol production capacity of 800,000 mt/year, have raised the country's total production capacity to around 2.5 million mt.

Increased supply amid steady domestic demand means that China is likely to increasingly target India due to lucrative prices in the Indian market.


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