10 July 2009 20:40 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US imports of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) dropped in May to 2,149 tonnes, a decrease of 47% from 4,080 tonnes a year ago, according to US International Trade Commission (ITC) data released on Friday.
The month-over-month drop was even more precipitous, falling by 62% from 5,688 tonnes in April, reflecting weak US demand and pessimism about the domestic coatings season, sources said.
The UK was the largest source of imported material, with 2,037 tonnes. Argentina and Belgium shipped only 112 tonnes combined.
May exports were down year over year by 37% to 1,467 tonnes. But export volumes were up by 73% from a weak April as producers sought foreign business, sources said.
Current US prices for MEK were 57-59 cents/lb ($1,257-1,301/tonne, €892-924/tonne), according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
US MEK producers include Shell Chemicals and ExxonMobil.
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