Price and market trends: Europe acetone demand eases

28 October 2013 00:00  [Source: ICB]

European spot acetone prices have eased on the back of slower demand, but also because of lower feedstock costs, sources said on 18 October.

“For acetone the market is slightly decreasing. I hear €920/tonne ($1,243/tonne) FCA (free carrier alongside) but I also hear some acetone at €920/tonne FD (free delivered). It’s quite mixed,” said one trader.

The trader described its own demand during the week as “non-existing”.

“Our monthly volumes are done for October and there is no demand for the second half of October. This is why prices have decreased,” the trader added.

A second trader described spot prices as “really dropping” and quoted €960-980/tonne FD NWE (northwest Europe).

“I don’t know why prices are coming down – maybe there is more on the market? Demand is OK – maybe it’s not so huge,” the trader said.

Speaking about acetone prices, a third trader said: “I can confirm there is some downward pressure. I think it’s something to do with destocking and something to do with the propylene development.”

The trader quoted €940-950/tonne FD NWE as a market price.

Because it is mid-month, another buyer and seller had done very little business in the week, adding that this was not out of the ordinary for the time of the month.

“Nobody is really doing much. This week in the distribution market is normally our quietest. There won’t be any change – prices are flat for me,” it said.

Although lower prices were talked about in the trade and distribution sector, acetone producers said their positions were unchanged from the previous week.

“People are interested in acetone. Acetone demand is good and there is no real change as we are heading to November. I think we are on a good level,” said one producer.

Talking about its market position, a second producer said: “For acetone, it depends on what business you are concentrating on. For me, acetone demand is good but I include everything. I produce acetone and I sell acetone.

“MMA [methyl methacrylate] is good and they consume the same as ever. BPA [bisphenol A] is not so good. They [acetone buyers] are stable on the low side.”

Referring to a market price for acetone, the producer assessed the market at €950/tonne on an FCA basis.

Acetone spot prices have held firm in recent months, because of cuts in primary product phenol resulting in market tightness.

For every tonne of phenol produced, 0.62 tonnes of acetone is made. Phenol operating rates in Europe are estimated to be running at 60-70%, because of a serious decline in demand for major phenol derivative BPA.

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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