For the Quarter Ending June 2021
Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) market of North America remained stable during this quarter, strengthened by sturdy demand from the domestic disinfectant and solvents sector. Despite of rising price amid the scarcity of feedstock Propylene in USA, the price of IPA stood rangebound and fluctuated within a narrow range. However, demand from the downstream solvent sector was recovering month over month, as post polar storm devastation, several plants resumed operations at usual capacities. In addition, demand from downstream derivative segments like MIBK, Isopropyl Acetate and Acetone also bolstered the demand for IPA during this timeframe in USA.
The Asian market showed mixed sentiment for Isopropyl Alcohol during this time frame, which varied month over month and country over country. In China, price of IPA kept fluctuating monthly, while the demand remained low from the downstream solvent and disinfectant manufacturers. The price fluctuation was observed due to frequent changes in the international demand and fluctuating demand for its derivative products in China. In India, similar scenario was observed, where despite of the second wave of pandemic in the country, demand from the disinfectant market dwindled effectively due ample stock availability. Under these circumstances, the price of IPA tumbled during the end of the quarter and hovered around USD 1375/MT and USD 1442/MT for China and India respectively.
Europe also had a stable market scenario for IPA for this quarter, backed by recovering demand from the downstream derivative segment. In addition, demand from hand sanitizers sector remained stable throughout the quarter, as the pandemic cases rose in several parts of the Europe. Moreover, demand from the derivative Acetone and MIBK remained strong, due to firm offtakes from the respective segments. Therefore, the price of IPA kept fluctuating in stable to high range and the supply remained sturdy enough to satisfy the overall need of the region.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Extreme cold weather across the Gulf of US impacted several IPA plants of the region, however the demand from domestic market remained low. The overall demand for IPA was comparatively higher in the previous quarter but after subsequent fall in COVID 19 cases across the region, demand for IPA from sanitisers manufacturers reduced effectively. Despite of low demand for IPA prices were railing up due to huge rise in feedstock Acetone prices, which rose by around 20.6% and settled at USD 2425 per MT FOB Texas in March.
In the Asian Market, demand for IPA remained mixed, where some countries had a sufficient inventories level to satisfy the overall demand others struggled to maintain the supply activities across their country. Like in China, demand for IPA from sanitisers manufacturers was sturdy, but the inventories level remained low which created an extreme shortage of IPA in the country. In addition, extreme shortage of feedstock Acetone also effectively impacted the production in the China IPA market. During the quarter, average IPA prices in China rose by 22.29%, while in India it rose by 4.05% between January and March.
During Q1 2021, exports from Asia to Europe reduced effectively that tightened the supply of IPA in Europe. Meanwhile the demand remained consistent from sanitisers manufactures of the region, especially in second half of the quarter. Container shortage across Asia-Europe trade route, further reduced the feedstock availability across the region which pushed the prices to seek an upward trend. It is also anticipated that the supply of feedstock Acetone might improve from the US, which will improve the current IPA market condition in the upcoming quarters.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Asia Pacific Isopropanol (IPA) demand eased in July-Sep quarter after registering a historic Q2 surge as an outcome of the demand boom due to its growing usage in rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers. Market sentiments turned bearish as IPA’s major downstream sectors viz. construction and automotive were still grappling with poor margins amid retreating economy. Prices were more or less stagnant throughout the quarter, resisting further gains due to tapering demand for disinfectant products as several Asian economies showed abrupt downfall in per-day COVID-19 cases. Moreover, the news of shutdown of a Chinese acetone-based IPA manufacturing unit for scheduled maintenance raised the Asian sentiments. Firming feedstock, Acetone largely contributed to the uptrend observed in the Southern Asia prices where IPA which were traded in the range of USD 1200-1300 per MT in the period.
Demand for IPA in the European Union seemed eager to find balance between ample inventories and resilient buying as manufacturing of hand gels and disinfectants started to recede in Q3 after surging exponentially in Q2. Europe is a net importer of IPA. Imports from Asia flooded the region starting May until September, where prices rose amid higher Acetone prices. Demand was heard further pressured as some hand-gel producers preferred substituting IPA with ethanol, a cheaper counterpart. Moreover, dampened industrial consumption due to muted activity in the paints and coatings further pressured the market sentiments as the second wave of COVID-19 was being heard wreaking havoc in the region.
The third quarter showed mixed results as several small IPA producers in the region who started IPA manufacturing to pace with the COVID-led skyrocketing demand began to wind up their production. Several players started maintaining curtailed operating rates as the demand for hand sanitizers, which is still higher year on year, started falling as sanitizer production dipped considerably. FOB US Gulf prices of IPA, which remained the star product of 2020, surged to USD 1300 per MT amid higher shipping costs observed particularly for containers from Asia and firming Acetone values.