US small-volume acetone pricing decoupled from fundamentals

28 January 2014 22:16 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US regional acetone prices seem to disregard conventional factors like feedstock costs, contract prices and even supply and demand, a consultant said on Tuesday.

“Small volume acetone was easy to understand until recently. Market and prices began to react less predictably through late 2012, early 2013. Spot barge availability was scarce and contract price less definitive,” said Ashley Rock, a senior analyst at the consultancy firm Chemical Intelligence, which specialises in the solvent, methanol and glycol markets.

She was speaking at the 2nd ICIS Pan-American Phenol and Acetone conference.

This instability was likely to remain through this year, according to Rock.

“Going forward, pricing should remain somewhat volatile. We see 2014 with unstable prices and no clear direction," she said.

The distribution acetone market remains a small part of the market.

“On average less than 20% goes through small distribution markets,” Rock said.

The 2nd ICIS Pan-American Phenol and Acetone conference lasts through Wednesday.

By Rhian O'Connor