14 May 2009 11:36 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US phenol production continued its downward trend during the first quarter, falling 45% year over year, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) said on Thursday.
Phenol production totalled 678.5m lb (307,800 tonnes) in the first quarter, down 12% from 769.9m lb in the fourth quarter and down from 1.23bn lb a year earlier, NPRA said.
Phenol demand has been well under seasonal averages, buyers and sellers said, due to weakness in its key downstream sectors, the housing and automotive markets.
Acetone buyers have felt the phenol downturn the most as they deal with tight acetone supply as a result of reduced production at phenol/acetone plants. Phenol and acetone are co-products.
While phenol demand is down by more than 50% for some sectors, acetone demand is not down nearly as much, a supplier said.
The NPRA data was based on input from Dow Chemical, INEOS, Georgia Gulf, Shell and Sunoco.
($1 = €0.74)
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