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 2021
Saudi Arabia’s Petro Rabigh shut for two weeks starting 1 April. Japan’s Chiba-based Mitsui Chemicals shut for two weeks starting 14 April. Thailand’s PTT Phenol shut Line 1 and ran Line 2 at 60% for some weeks, following a power outage. Taiwan Prosperity Chemical Corp issued a force majeure for 10 days starting 1 June. Availability for Asia-origin acetone further tightened when US-based INEOS Phenol, Olin and Shell issued force majeures.
Demand for Asia-origin acetone was strengthened by force majeures at US-based INEOS Phenol, Olin and Shell particularly post-winter storm. There was hardly any spot cargo for regional buyers as sellers capitalised on the highest margins outside of Asia. Most buyers survived on contractual volumes and local goods. Downstream demand was also sluggish, thereby obliterating the need for rampant spot trades. IPA performance was notably disappointing in 2021, despite a 2020 surge from end-use sanitizing products.
After a tight start, acetone supply increased in the second half of Q2, as the level of imports increased from several regions and restrictions on upstream feedstocks started to ease and production levels increased. Exports also restarted out of the region. The market was still balanced, with Borealis in a planned turnaround in April/May and its subsequent declaration of force majeure on technical issues in mid-June. Versalis also entered its delayed one-month turnaround in mid-June.
Demand was healthy in Q2, especially in the first half. Q2 is the high season for the solvents sector, although demand did waver sometimes due to high price levels. BPA demand was strong, with both its downstream sectors running hard and MMA markets were healthy, although some downstream planned and unplanned outages did decrease consumption. Both Roehm and Dow remained in force majeure at the end of Q2.
US refinery utilisation climbed, which helped improve feedstock supply. Supply greatly improved from Q1, with product easier to procure. Olin had a planned turnaround in April. Suppliers that had previously supplied only contracts were heard to be more active in the spot market. Imports from Asia were heavy but were challenged by shipping issues along with bottlenecks from pandemic-related restrictions, making timely deliveries difficult.
Demand for most segments – including paints/coatings and bath/spa – was strong. The housing market continued to be robust despite the pandemic, record-high prices and all-time low inventory. Demand for acrylic sheets came off last year’s highs and was saturated. Players continued to struggle with tight logistics capacity with a shortage of domestic truck drivers, along with limited containers and vessels overseas.
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