29 April 2013 18:20 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) contract values for April remained in the same range as March prices, sources confirmed on Monday.
Although some weakness of about 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne, €34/tonne) was heard during the month, the MEK range remained at 81-82 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.
Supply was said to be mostly balanced with flat demand.
Upstream, US spot ethylene was steady at 59.250-59.875 cents/lb late last week compared with a week earlier as market participants kept activity to a minimum, citing an unclear direction and continued weak demand. Ethylene supply has also become longer on several cracker restarts and high operating rates.
Downstream demand for coatings is still softer than projections, but although optimism exists among some market participants, others insist economic recovery remains stymied.
In its monthly index of chemical industry activity, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) showed an 0.2% gain this month from the March measure – negligible by some standards but the ninth consecutive monthly improvement.
US MEK suppliers include Shell Chemical, ExxonMobil, Sasol.
($1 = €0.77)
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