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 Q3 2020
Supply increased, with on-spec capacity addition of 250,000 tonnes/year by China’s Zhejiang Petrochemicals. There were limited turnarounds after China’s Chung Chun PC and Japan’s Osaka-based Mitsui Chemicals restarted their plants in H2 July. Most Asia-based plants out of China were operating at full or close to full capacity. Port inventory levels were curbed by strong offtakes from some derivatives.
Demand saw a V-shaped recovery. Prices plunged from early-July to early-August, with importers holding back procurement on concerns that prices might plunge after China’s Zhejiang Petrochemicals starts up its 250,000 tonne/year line. The start-up was delayed, and buyers rushed to purchase to meet inventory requirements. The new plant reached on-spec production in early September and was shut about two weeks later from equipment failure, prompting procurement and supporting prices.
Acetone availability in Europe was tight to short in Q3, particularly in the spot market, as production rates increased only marginally with incremental gains in demand for co-product phenol. Planned maintenance by Domo Caproleuna and Seqens, and fewer imports from Asia and the US, added to the tightness. Improving downstream demand faced limited availability and elevated prices.
Demand strengthened in Q3, as downstream consumption of BPA and MMA began to recover, partly supported by high demand for clear plastic sheets to shield customers and workers from the coronavirus. Automotive demand was slower to recover, but by the end of Q3 was near levels seen at the beginning of 2020 in some areas. Solvents, paints and coatings demand remained relatively healthy, supported by an uptick in home improvement projects.
Supply was tight in Q3. Antidumping duties (ADDs) against five countries – Spain, Singapore, Belgium, South Africa and South Korea – discouraged imports, although trade flows re-adjusted due to attractive US netbacks. SABIC and Shell started turnarounds in September, while INEOS declared force majeure. Lower production of co-product phenol during the pandemic also saw less acetone produced.
Demand was steady-to-firm as the economy improved. Demand for MMA in the auto and construction sectors continued to recover, but a sharp recovery in the auto sector is still some way off. Although the backlog for acrylic sheets remained very healthy, it was not produced at such high rates. Demand for IPA fell from Q2 highs, but remained healthy in the sanitizer and disinfectant sectors.
We offer the following regional Acetone analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Acetone marketplace.
More information about the price reports we publish on Acetone
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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