23 August 2013 20:59 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Spot and contract prices for US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) are at their lowest levels in two years, and appear to be headed for a roll over at the end of August, and sources said on Friday that the US market was flat because of demand.
"MEK is flat because nothing is really driving it," a trader said.
Prices for MEK have dropped dramatically, from a high of 143 cents/lb ($3,153/tonne, €2,365/tonne) in late August 2011 to 75 cents/lb the past several months.
Although sources were not clear about why MEK has seen such a large decrease, the trend tracks sentiment that the MEK market globally may be somewhat oversupplied.
For 2013, MEK has seen flat-to-declining prices in the US and in other regions. Only recently has there been slight upward movement in Europe and Asia.
The last movement in US MEK prices were in May, when both contract and spot prices fell. Contract prices went from 81.5 cents/lb to 80 cents/lb, and spot prices went from 77 cents/lb to 75 cents/lb.
That is a stark contrast from 23 August 2011, when both spot and contract MEK prices were soaring in the mid-140 cent/lb range.
The largest drop for MEK spot pricing occurred in November 2012. Prices went from 89.5 cents/lb to 81 cents/lb.
US producers of MEK include ExxonMobil and Shell.($1 = €0.75)
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