The ICIS Cumene price report is published weekly in the US, providing pricing information supported by market analysis on production news, economic news, upstream and downstream market developments, all of which support information on the contract prices.
The coverage from our locally based reporters keeps you up to date with the key issues driving prices, ensuring you have the information you need to make confident commercial decisions.
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
Updated to Q4 2016
US cumene prices in the US are expected to trend lower in Q4 on weaker feedstocks and ample supply, while Asian and European prices remain steady, given the non-merchant nature of cumene in those regions.
Cumene’s major feedstock, benzene, is expected to fall in Q4, as is the other major feedstock, refinery-grade propylene (RPG), on seasonally weaker demand and inventory destocking efforts.
In addition to softer feedstocks, cumene demand from the US phenol/acetone sector should decline, although an expected plant start-up in Q4 could give cumene a short-term boost. That boost could be minimised, however, if other phenol/acetone plants lower their operating rates in response to keeping the market from becoming oversupplied.
Cumene demand from the US gasoline sector is also expected to soften in and remain minimal in Q4, given cheaper alternatives and lower levels of gasoline consumption.
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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.