Methyl isobutyl ketone Prices, markets & analysis
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Methyl isobutyl ketone Overview Transcript
MIBK is methyl isobutyl ketone. It is a solvent that is derived from acetone and other chemicals. It goes into a wide range of applications from consumer goods and pesticides, pharmaceuticals to industrial uses such as the production of paints, rubber products and machinery.
Some of the household products containing MIBK include things like surface cleaners, laundry starch, spray paint, shoe polish, varnish and so on.
The big commercial applications would be in the paints and coatings sector so the housing and construction industries and automobile sectors are really quite important to MIBK demand. In the last couple of years, those areas have not been doing so well. So, we consider MIBK to be a fairly mature market
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Methyl isobutyl ketone: Market overview
Demand in the European methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) market has suffered from weak demand and oversupply throughout 2013. The weak economic environment in Europe has dampened buying activity in key end-use markets such as automotives – where MIBK is used in the production of car tyres – and construction. Lower feedstock acetone costs in 2013, together with poor MIBK demand, have seen MIBK prices fall since the beginning of the year. Better weather conditions in the third quarter could see demand strengthen from the construction sector.
US MIBK prices have remained flat throughout much of 2013, and could remain flat for the rest of the year. Weak demand and oversupply have pushed prices downward, making MIBK a quiet market. US MIBK exports have seen sharp decreases in 2013 compared with 2012. In addition, refinery-grade propylene prices have inched up, making it more expensive for MIBK producers to sell and distribute their product.
The December 2012 commissioning of South Korean producer Kumho’s expanded MIBK plant boosted supply to China by about 2,000 tonnes a month and spurred a sharp decline in spot MIBK prices. Average spot MIBK prices into China in late May showed a 15% slump compared with figures in early December 2012.
China imported 20,615 tonnes of MIBK between January and April 2013, a 115% surge from January-April 2012, market sources said, citing customs data.
China’s MIBK imports between January and April 2013 amounted to the same volumes purchased between January and October 2012, the sources added.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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About Methyl isobutyl ketone
Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) is an excellent solvent for resins used in the production of surface coatings. The main solvent applications are in transportation, refurnishing and marine coatings, construction coatings, wood coatings and metal coatings.
MIBK is also used in rubber chemicals for the production of tyres, as a solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and adhesives, and for specialised metallurgical extraction.
The two main processes for making MIBK are from acetone condensation and isopropanol (IPA).
MIBK is a colourless liquid with a characteristic ketone odour. It is highly flammable and vapours may travel to the source of ignition and flashback.