ICIS publishes the weekly Acetone report in Asia, China, Europe and the US.
The reports contain information on spot and contract prices, imports, and production issues, as well as maintenance plans and upstream/downstream intelligence. The unbiased pricing data, gathered by our locally based reporters, enables those involved in Acetone or related products to make informed business decisions.
Updated to Q2 2019
Structural imbalances dominated the European acetone market in Q2. There was talk that producers lowered operating rates in response, but they were limited by co-product phenol demand. German seller Domo Caproleuna declared a force majeure from its 93,000 tonne/year Leuna facility in May, which, for some, tightened the market. In addition, Polish seller PKN Orlen had a turnaround at its 34,000 tonne/year plant in Plock between May and early June.
Acetone order book volumes were capped by downstream weakness in the methyl methacrylate (MMA) market. Although MMA consumption did pick up seasonally with the summer, a softening in automotive end-use demand limited any rise in purchasing activity. German MMA seller Evonik had a turnaround at its 95,000 tonne/year Wesseling plant in June and its 225,000 tonne/year Worms site in April. UK competitor Lucite International had a scheduled outage at its 200,000 tonne/year Cassel plant in April.
US acetone supply increased in the second quarter as production and logistical issues were resolved and force majeure declarations were lifted. A production issue for feedstock cumene late in the quarter had no impact on acetone production rates prior to the end of the quarter. Import levels remained relatively steady despite an ongoing antidumping duty (ADD) investigation. Inventory levels remained high due to downstream production issues and available imports.
US acetone demand early in the second quarter was low after production issues in downstream methyl methacrylate (MMA) late in the first quarter. Demand increased during the second quarter as production issues resolved, but one plant remained off line at the end of the second quarter and some were operating at reduced rates due to limited availability of a co-feedstock. Demand into other applications was relatively steady.
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The main use of acetone, accounting for over a quarter of total consumption, is in the manufacture of acetone cyanohydrin, a feedstock for methyl methacrylate (MMA). The other major and fast growing derivative is bisphenol-A (BPA).
Acetone is a clear, water-white volatile liquid, slightly hygroscopic with a mild, mint-like fragrant odour. It is highly flammable, miscible in all proportions in water, ethyl alcohol, ether and will react explosively with strong oxidising agents.
The largest outlet for acetone is the manufacture of acetone cyanohydrin (ACH), which is a precursor to methyl methacrylate (MMA) and methacrylic acid.
An important derivative of MMA is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
Applications for PMMA include windows, skylights, signs, lighting fixtures, automotive parts, medical devices and appliances. A growing sector is in electronic applications where it is used in flat screen televisions and liquid crystal displays.
Methacrylates are also used in latex surface coatings in applications such as architectural, automotive, wood furniture, lacquers and enamels.
Nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers.
The second largest use for acetone is the manufacture of bisphenol-A (BPA), whose growth is driven by the polycarbonate sector.
Acetone is used to make a number of chemical derivatives such as methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isophorone and diacetone alcohol/hexylene glycol.
Nearly all acetone production is via the cumene route where 0.62 tonnes of acetone is produced with each tonne of phenol. As a co-product to phenol, acetone availability is dependent on market conditions for phenol.
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