08 April 2013 22:39 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acetone imports for February were up by more than five times the rate seen in the same month one year ago, according to data released by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Monday.
Imports - almost exclusively from Belgium - increased to 7,990 tonnes from only 1,299 tonnes in February 2012, largely on reduced domestic production of phenol, which severely tightened US acetone supply, especially in the face of strong acetone demand from the methyl methacrylate (MMA) market, sources said.
This pushed US buyers to soak up much of the material being produced domestically, reducing exports to 16,004 tonnes in February from 27,697 tonnes one year ago.
Most of that 42% reduction in year-over-year exports was to China, which took only 2,001 tonnes in February versus 18,660 tonnes in the same month one year ago. Most of the February exports were to Mexico.
US barge prices for March acetone were 66 cents/lb ($1,455/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.
Major US phenol-acetone producers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Shell Chemical.
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