US June barge acetone contracts fall 15% from May

29 June 2012 18:48  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US June barge acetone contract settled at a fall of 15%, buyers and sellers confirmed on Friday.

Sources said the June barge acetone price was agreed to at 44.5 cents/lb ($981/tonne, €785/tonne) DEL (delivered).

This is down by 8 cents/lb from May’s settlement at 52.5 cents/lb DEL barge.

One buyer said the settlement should have been lower, and that producers are overstating tightness in the acetone market.

“There is no reason for acetone to be that much higher than RGP [refinery-grade propylene]” the buyer said.

RGP is the key feedstock for barge acetone, and spot prices have dropped by 18% in the past four weeks, as assessed by ICIS.

Another buyer added that its contract volumes have been sufficient and that it is also having no trouble obtaining material.

Acetone supply is tightening, producers said, because operating rates are lower because of weak export demand for co-product phenol.

Sources also said there is little demand in the US for imported acetone, despite it being less expensive.

Demand for acetone in the barge market, which mostly gets used for production of methyl methacrylate (MMA), is strong, sources said.

The US barge acetone contract is negotiated among three large producers -- Georgia Gulf, INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical - and the three largest buyers - Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.80)

By: John Dietrich

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