US spot acetone surging on tight supply, higher propylene

11 January 2013 17:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot acetone prices were assessed at an average of 14% higher on Friday, tracking feedstock costs and tight supply.

ICIS-assessed US spot acetone prices moved to 52-57 cents/lb ($1,146-1,257/tonne, €860-942/tonne) on an FOB (free on board) basis.

Previously, ICIS-assessed spot prices were at 46-50 cents/lb FOB.

“Any buyer would take that price for spot acetone,” a producer said. “But there isn’t any available.”

The producer said it is seeing spot prices in the upper-50s to low-60s cents/lb if the material were ordered from Asia.

However, a trader said its negotiations for Asian material were closer to the mid-50s, but the buyer decided it didn’t want to risk price movement while the acetone was being transported.

“Most buyers are hesitant to project acetone prices out into March,” the trader said. “But if you want the material, that’s what the price is at.”

Another trader agreed but said talks for acetone are rare because supply in the US and Asia is tight.

“Any spot acetone a US producer has is staying in the country,” the trader said. “It’s a much stronger market.”

US and Asian acetone supply is tight because operating rates are low in each region, mostly because of weak demand for co-product phenol.

Domestic prices in the US are also rising, sources said, in the large and medium buyer markets.

This is because of the tight supply and because spot prices for feedstock refinery-grade propylene (RGP) have surged by more than 10 cents/lb from the end of 2012.

Major US acetone producers include Dow Chemical, Georgia Gulf, INEOS Phenol, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell and Shell Chemical.

($1 = €0.75)

By: John Dietrich

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