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 2020
Supply tightened. Saudi Arabia’s Petro Rabigh was shut from late-February to mid-June. Mitsui Phenol Singapore shut from March to April. India’s Deepak Phenolics was shut during the country’s lockdown from March to April. South Korea’s Kumho P&B line 2 was shut in April; line 4 had a week of unscheduled maintenance in April. China’s Chang Chun Petrochemical was shut from late May. Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemicals and Osaka-based Mitsui Chemicals were shut for most of Q2.
Demand was strong, with downstream sectors including IPA and MMA whose end-use in hand sanitizers and protective sheets, respectively, seeing a surge in demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Procurement activities were rampant, with a slew of turnarounds in Q2. The average production rate in China stood at only 64% in late June.
Availability was generally tighter in the second quarter, as production rates remained low because of low demand for co-product phenol, fewer imports and a handful of outages. A wide arbitrage to Asia and the US drained most available supply, while contracted supply was also minimised to take advantage of higher domestic and export spot prices later in the quarter.
Demand deteriorated in Q2, as the coronavirus pandemic ate into downstream consumption, particularly in the automotive sector. That weakness was alleviated somewhat by spiking demand for PC and MMA clear plastic sheets installed widely at supermarkets and shops to shield workers from the virus. Solvents, paints and coatings demand also saw less deterioration, as do-it-yourself home repairs increased during lockdowns in some areas.
US acetone supply was tight, a marked difference from the previous year, as ADDs against five countries (Spain, Singapore, Belgium, South Africa and South Korea) discouraged imports. No imports have been seen from these five countries since November 2019. With domestic suppliers providing material at minimum contract volumes and availability of spot material limited, price increases gained traction.
Demand from MMA fell as auto production and non-essential construction shut down during April and May due to the pandemic. There was strong demand from acrylic sheets and from IPA for hand sanitizer. While the pandemic weighed on the market, global demand for acetone was stronger than for co-product phenol. June did see economic activity resume as restrictions were lifted, with production in the auto and construction sectors slowly ramping back up.
We offer the following regional Acetone analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Acetone marketplace.
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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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Safeguard your future with the opportunity to discuss your expectations and learn from industry experts at The ICIS 2020 World Phenol-Acetone Conference, a biennial event in the calendar of professionals across the globe. You can get face-to-face time with existing suppliers or explore new business opportunities to initiate future connections.
As a global event, a worldwide perspective is reflected throughout agenda topics, speakers and attendees. With content covering regional trends and their impact globally, you can expect to gain insight on a variety of relevant topics