Acetone Prices, markets & analysis
If you buy or sell Acetone or related products, you need up-to-date global pricing data and the background information to help you understand it.
Our network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US enables us to deliver this. We publish their insights in our comprehensive daily and weekly price reports, plus we offer the news and analysis you need to put pricing information into context.
Acetone overview Transcript
The largest consumer of acetone is methyl methacrylate (MMA) and acrylic acid, nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers.
The second largest use for acetone is the manufacture of bis-phenol A who’s growth is driven by the polycarbonate sector. Other significant outlets for acetone include solvents use.
Around 90% of acetone production is via the cumene route to make phenol, where 0.62 tonnes of acetone is produced with each tonne of phenol. As phenol demand is growing faster than acetone demand there is a global surplus of acetone in the market.
Acetone is a clear water-white volatile liquid, which is highly flammable. Europe has the capacity to produce approximately 2.5 million tonnes per year of acetone, while global production is set close to 7 million tonnes per year. Global growth is around 5% per year with Asia being the fastest growing region. In Europe, growth is set at around 0-2% per year.
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Acetone: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2015
Asian acetone supply is expected to increase in Q1, with the commissioning of three new plants in China (Shanghai Sinopec Mitsui, Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp and CEPSA Quimica) with a combined capacity to produce 480,000 tonnes of acetone a year. Steep falls in raw material benzene and propylene prices, along with a steady in-flow of deep-sea material to China, are expected to maintain downward pressure on prices.
US truck and barge acetone markets face downward price pressure as weaker raw material prices are expected to carry over or worsen. Acetone is highly reactive to refinery-grade propylene (RGP), which tumbled from the mid-70s cents/lb in October 2014 to the mid-30 cents/lb late in the first week of 2015. Despite diminished phenol production, supply of co-product acetone was not expected to be problematic in the near-term.
European acetone prices face downward pressure with falls in key raw material propylene. Contract prices were quick to react, but spot prices are widely expected to follow. Some seasonal demand could temper declines. Producers are expected to try to balance the market with exports.
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Acetone is a clear, water-white volatile liquid, slightly hygroscopic with a mild, mint-like fragrant odour. It is highly flammable, miscible in all proportions in water, ethyl alcohol, ether and will react explosively with strong oxidising agents.
The largest outlet for acetone is the manufacture of acetone cyanohydrin (ACH), which is a precursor to methyl methacrylate (MMA) and methacrylic acid.
An important derivative of MMA is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
Applications for PMMA include windows, skylights, signs, lighting fixtures, automotive parts, medical devices and appliances. A growing sector is in electronic applications where it is used in flat screen televisions and liquid crystal displays.
Methacrylates are also used in latex surface coatings in applications such as architectural, automotive, wood furniture, lacquers and enamels.
Nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers.
The second largest use for acetone is the manufacture of bisphenol-A (BPA), whose growth is driven by the polycarbonate sector.
Acetone is used to make a number of chemical derivatives such as methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isophorone and diacetone alcohol/hexylene glycol.
Nearly all acetone production is via the cumene route where 0.62 tonnes of acetone is produced with each tonne of phenol. As a co-product to phenol, acetone availability is dependent on market conditions for phenol.