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Updated to Q2 2014
As the second quarter comes to an end, the US methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) market remains quiet. Prices have remained stable for the last three months, and demand has been flat.
MIBK prices have been flat since February, when contract prices went up 7 cents/lb. That increase was driven by higher propylene costs. Since then, propylene prices have decreased. MIBK prices were expected to go down, but they have not done so.
Imports and exports of MIBK have remained fairly steady during the quarter. The dominant MIBK supplier to the US remains South Africa, followed by Brazil.
Meanwhile, demand for butyl acetate (butac) remained strong for the quarter. Butac is often used as a substitute for MIBK. Both butac and MIBK are used in the paints and coatings sector, and demand is tied to warmer weather and the US construction sector.
Sources expect MIBK demand to remain flat. MIBK is too expensive to use when butac is a cheaper option, sources have said.
In terms of MIBK prices, sources have said in recent weeks that they expect a market correction, and that MIBK could go down a few cents.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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