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 2018
Asia Acetone supply is expected to be long in the fourth quarter. The turnarounds in China will largely wrap up by November. European cargoes are likely available given the poorer margins in that continent. US cargoes are unlikely available due to the 25% import duty from the trade war with China.
Asia Acetone supply is expected to be higher in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. The summer lull ends, boosting higher production and downstream paint and coating consumption. The environmental checks by government bodies at downstream factories are expected to dwindle by the fourth quarter. Hence, these plants can resume their buying activities.
There should be more balance to European acetone supply due to turnarounds scheduled in the fourth quarter. One such planned maintenance is at Spanish seller Cepsa’s Huelva plant. Nonetheless, supply of acetone has been lengthy for much of 2018 as availability of the product is reliant partially on how strong co-product phenol demand is.
Usually, European acetone demand picks up after the summer holidays with a slowdown then occurring towards the end of the year. In the downstream methyl methacrylate (MMA) market demand has been mixed in the third quarter, with industry destocking taking place between May and September in anticipation of price decreases. Hand-to-mouth buying is expected to continue for the rest of 2018.
Supply of US acetone is expected to remain long, although some producers have planned turnarounds coming up during the fourth quarter. RGP price direction will continue to influence barge prices. Truck prices may soften somewhat on oversupply and slightly weaker demand. Margins are expected to remain depressed into the first quarter of 2019.
Demand for US acetone should soften somewhat in the fourth quarter. Oversupply of product will mean buyers should have little trouble securing product. Prices are expected to continue in similar patterns to the third quarter, with barge contract prices linked to RGP movement and truck prices responsive to oversupply.
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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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