Cumene Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Cumene market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Cumene or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Cumene market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Our editor gives their expert view
Cumene Overview Transcript
Cumene is a colourless liquid with a distinctive aromatic odour; it is soluble in alcohol and ether but not in water.
Cumene is manufactured via benzene and propylene. The aromatic hydrocarbon is used mostly for the manufacture of phenol and acetone as well as alpha-methyl-styrene or AMS.
It is also utilised as a solvent, and sometimes it’s used as an additive for jet fuel and for textile dies.
But with 98% of cumene going into phenol and acetone production, the market is tied very closely to phenol’s derivatives, particularly bisphenol A or BPA and phenolic resins.
Demand is for cumene is tied to the automotive, transportation, home construction through its derivative phenol. Consequently with these sectors either slow or in decline, cumene’s growth is projected to be just barely 1%
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Cumene: Market overview
The US cumene market is expected to remain oversupplied during the first part of the new year, stemming largely from ongoing soft demand from downstream phenol.
One source of cumene consumption dried up recently after an explosion and fire in mid-December at a small phenol plant in Illinois halted operations there. However, with production of less than 30,000 tonnes/year of phenol at the site, the outage was not expected to have any significant impact on cumene market length.
Potential declines in phenol production, which is already averaging 65-70% capacity, would further lengthen the cumene market. Although downstream acetone demand is relatively healthy, acetone supply has been compromised by lower phenol production rates.
With homebuilding as a downstream market, there is a more positive outlook on the spring coatings season for 2014, but sentiment remains largely guarded for the near term.
Also, 2014 phenol contracts were heard settling lower than expected because of pressure from imports. Sellers will be keen to offset lower profitability from phenol, especially in the first quarter.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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Cumene is a colourless liquid, with characteristic sharp, penetrating, gasoline-like odour. It is insoluble in water but soluble in ethyl alcohol, ether and benzene.
Cumene is the main feedstock for phenol/acetone production and nearly all is used in this way. Demand is driven by market growth for the derivatives of phenol such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and phenolic resins.
Other minor uses for cumene are as a thinner for paints, lacquers and enamels, as a constituent of some petroleum-based solvents and as a component of high octane aviation fuel.
Cumene is utilised in the manufacturing of polymerisation catalysts, catalyst for acrylic and polyester type resins, and as a raw material for peroxides and oxidation catalysts.