Methyl ethyl ketone Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS provides independent and unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis for the global Methyl ethyl ketone market. Our network of price reporters, based in Asia, Europe and the US, deliver local insight for each of these markets, which is published in our individual weekly and daily price reports.
If you buy or sell Methyl ethyl ketone or related products, our reports, news and market intelligence will give you the prices and analysis of the factors driving the prices that you need to make confident commercial decisions.
Our editor gives their expert view
Methyl ethyl ketone Overview transcript
Methyl ethyl ketone or MEK is a solvent used mainly in paints and coatings and adhesives. It is also found in household products such as lacquer, varnishes, and paint remover.
Japan, Taiwan, China and the US are key exporters to markets such as South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. Most sellers outside of China have long-term supply contracts, with distributors across Asia, and prices are usually settled on a monthly basis.
The Chinese tend to be spot sellers and any big swings in their supply can quickly impact regional prices.
The predominance of long-term supply agreements has done little to keep Asian prices stable in recent years, with demand growth outstripping capacity expansions in Asia, any tightening in supply due to plant shutdowns can effect prices significantly.
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Methyl ethyl ketone news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Methyl ethyl ketone analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Methyl ethyl ketone marketplace.
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Methyl ethyl ketone: Market overview
Prices across Asia, Europe and the US are expected to be stable-to-strong in the first quarter.
Asian prices are expected to retain its uptrend in the first quarter of 2014 due to the tight supply. Major producers in Asia outside of China have not resumed their full production level because of a shortage in feedstock butane (C4) while major producers in China have largely catered to the domestic market for higher price realisation.
In Europe, demand is set to be healthy in January due to restocking. However, a long-term downward demand trajectory is expected due to poor macroeconomic conditions for the rest of the quarter. The current price, at 18-month high, is expected to undergo a correction following the end of the force majeure at a plant in Germany.
Prices in the US are expected to be firm amid rising feedstock ethylene prices during the first quarter. Due to the tight supply in Asia, some US producers may plan to sell more cargoes to Asia, thereby tightening the supply and exerting a price uptrend in the US as well.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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Methyl Ethyl Ketone Methodology
About Methyl ethyl ketone
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is a colourless, mobile, flammable liquid with an acetone like odour. It is soluble in ethyl alcohol, benzene, ether and acetone, and miscible with oils. It is also a fast-evaporating active solvent with an evaporation rate similar to ethyl acetate.
The main application for MEK is as a low-boiling solvent for nitrocellulose, acrylic and vinyl surface coatings. Around half of global MEK demand is derived from the paints and coatings industry. Its advantage is that low viscosity solutions can be obtained, having a high solids content, without affecting the film properties. These lacquers are used in the automotive, electrical goods and furniture industries.
MEK can also be used in rubber-based industrial cements and printing inks. Its fast evaporation rate makes it popular for rubber-based industrial cements, low-temperature bonding agents and as an azeotropic separation solvent for printing inks. It is also a component of the solvent system used in producing magnetic tape.
MEK is also a solvent required for the polymerisation processing of polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), and styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR).