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
From mid-May to mid-August, the acetone methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract price continued to mirror fluctuations in the value of major feedstock propylene.
Cutbacks in primary product phenol meant that there was not an abundance of acetone available for the acetone spot market, although there was limited availability of larger cargoes for the spot market.
Demand for spot acetone started to ease before the peak summer months, and so did spot values.
In mid-May, acetone spot was assessed at an average of €935/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe). At the start of August the mid-point was about €850/tonne.
Weak macroeconomic conditions in Europe and a drop in demand from the key Asia market weighed heavily on sentiment, particularly for the downstream bisphenol A (BPA) market.
Demand for key acetone derivative MMA was at a healthy level, although a major MMA producer had production problems in July, so did not need all of the volume it had originally planned to take.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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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.