10 November 2010 23:19 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US imports of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) rose to 6,136 tonnes in September, nearly three times the 2,294 tonnes imported during the same month one year ago, according to US International Trade Commission (ITC) data released on Wednesday.
Although year-on-year MEK imports were up sharply, month-on-month import levels had begun to weaken. In the previous month, 10,220 tonnes were imported in the wake of severe supply constraints due to unplanned production outages.
Market sources said the September imports – as much as 25% cheaper than domestic product – lengthened supply but also caused some price initiatives to deteriorate.
Exports were also up, however, as producers sought to counterbalance excess imports.
Mexico was the primary destination for exported material, taking 71% of the 2,475 tonnes shipped from the US during the month.
Year-to-date exports totalled 30,962 tonnes, more than double the 14,875 tonnes exported during the same period last year, the ITC reported.
US prices for MEK were assessed by ICIS at $1.00–1.04/lb ($2,205–2,293/tonne, €1,588–1,651/tonne).
US MEK producers include Shell Chemicals and ExxonMobil.
($1 = €0.72)
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