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Bisphenol A availability has been critically tight in all regions since the start of this year. Spot prices have soared to record highs over the last few months, putting the end-user market under severe stress – derivative run rates have been reduced and in some cases, production was temporarily halted. In late April and early May, there were some signs that the uptrend was starting to lose momentum; prices in China were starting to slide. Does this mean that the global BPA market has finally peaked or is this just a temporary blip?

Producers will argue that they had warned the industry several years ago that the bisphenol A market was heading towards a global shortage. They cautioned that a stable epoxy resins capacity would soon be competing against rapidly increasing polycarbonate capacity in China for bisphenol A material. There was a brief hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic last year as the entire petrochemical industry was brought to a standstill. But now that trading activity has picked up and this, combined with a number of unplanned events, has expedited the supply tightness that manufacturers say was already on the cards.

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