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.
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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 Q3 2014
Q3 acetone prices in China may continue mostly stable from the second quarter or fluctuate in a tight range as curtailed supply of deep-sea material due to likely turnarounds in Europe is offset by capacity expansion in this region. Shanghai Sinopec Mitsui Chemicals is expected to commission its new plant in August, and in the Guangdong province, Kingboard is expected to restart its plant in late July, following an expansion. Comparatively robust regional phenol pricing is prompting higher production rates, increasing acetone output.
The European acetone market should remain balanced-to-tight through the third quarter, with production problems at a southern European producer and rolling shutdowns at others. Exports are likely to slow in this environment. Contract price negotiations should continue to be tough with producers seeking compensation for earlier margin squeezes. Spot prices should also remain volatile with supply news key.
US contract truck acetone values are expected to remain generally stable during Q3, but truck and barge pricing may face downward pressure during the quarter from plentiful supply and soft-but-improving refinery-grade propylene value. However, a spike in the upstream July benzene contract could counterbalance that pressure, and weak fundamentals in the phenol market may begin to limit acetone supply if the economy continues to improve.
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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.