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 Q4 2019
Acetone supply in Q4 was lower on reduced run rates across several major plants including South Korea’s LG Chem and Kumho P&B; Taiwan’s Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC); Mitsui Phenol Singapore (MPS); Japan’s Ichibara-based Mitsui Chemicals and India’s Deepak Phenolics. The cuts occurred due to poor margins. There were also turnarounds at Taiwan Prosperity Chemical Corp (TPCC) and at plants located at Shanghai Caojing park, which houses a quarter of China’s acetone capacities.
Acetone demand in Q4 was subdued due to sluggish downstream consumption. The cooler weather typically curbs derivative paint and coating projects. Downstream products such as IPA, MIBK, MMA and PMMA underperformed. The indefinite shutdowns at some of these plants also affected acetone consumption. They include methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) plants, Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals, one line at South Korea’s Kumho P&B and China’s Dongying Yimeide. There was little motivation to seek January-arrivals, with the Lunar New Year falling on 25 January.
Europe acetone supply was reduced further in the fourth quarter of 2019 as producers INEOS Phenol and Borealis both carried out maintenance on plants, while climbing prices of acetone in Asia reduced inflows of imported acetone entering Europe. Producers maintained lower operating rates amid lower demand for co-product phenol.
Demand for acetone remained poor in Europe in the later months of 2019, amid bearish macroeconomic sentiment, ongoing trade tensions between the US and China and uncertainties around Brexit, and disappointing performance in the automotive and construction sectors. Market weakness was driven largely by lower consumption of acetone’s main downstream derivatives methyl methacrylate (MMA) and bisphenol-A (BPA).
Supply of US acetone declined in the fourth quarter as approved and pending antidumping duties (ADD) discouraged imports. The ADD investigation involved the top five sources for US acetone imports. Supply also decreased as lower demand for co-product phenol lowered production rates. However, acetone remained readily available due to high levels of inventory and sluggish downstream consumption.
Demand for US acetone declined in the third quarter amid poor performance in the downstream automotive and construction sectors. Automotive sales are down globally, while the peak season for construction was less than typical. Ongoing downstream outages and an overall bearish global economy continued in the third quarter.
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.
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