US MEK contracts may fall 7 cents/lb on demand, higher supplies

28 April 2012 00:15  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) contracts were beginning to slip by about 7 cents/lb ($154/tonne, €117/tonne), sources said on Friday.

The current MEK contract range is $1.02-1.06/lb, as assessed by ICIS, pending confirmation of recent declines.

Market participants attributed word of the price reduction by most producers to lacklustre demand and an anticipated increase in supply.

MEK contract values recently settled flat from March amid expectations of increased competition from imports stemming from the imminent restart of Japan’s Maruzen Petrochemical MEK plant after more than a year off line.

The 170,000 tonne/year facility was damaged in the wake of Japan’s earthquake in March 2011.

Feedstock butane at Mont Belvieu, Texas, was in a range of 192.50-193.00 cents/gal on Friday, up slightly from 191.25-192.00 cents/gal one week ago.

US ethylene was in a wider range of 68.500-71.500 cents/lb this week compared with 69.000-69.500 cents/lb a week earlier, with trades done at each end of the range and nothing in between.

US MEK suppliers include Shell Chemicals and ExxonMobil and Sasol.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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