US 2012 acetone exports sink 31% year on year on tight supply

11 February 2013 21:06  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)—US 2012 exports of acetone fell by 31% year on year, according to data released on Monday by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

The data from the ITC showed US 2012 acetone exports totaled 252,443 tonnes, compared with 364,627 tonnes a year ago.

The fall was mostly attributed to a lack of supply, sources said, as US operating rates were low for most of 2012.

The low operating rates were the result of weak export demand for acetone co-product phenol, which saw year-on-year exports fall by 3%.

Additionally, strong domestic demand from the methyl methacrylate (MMA) and solvent markets pushed producers to sell their excess material domestically rather than into overseas markets.

Year on year, December 2012 acetone exports fell to 12,434 tonnes, a 63% drop from 33,462 tonnes.

Month on month, December exports fell by 24% from 16,344 tonnes in November 2012.

Currently, US spot acetone prices are assessed by ICIS at 60-63 cents/lb ($1,322-1,389/tonne) on an FOB (free on board) basis.

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

By: John Dietrich

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