The ICIS Ethyl Acetate reports are published in Asia, Europe and the US on a weekly basis.
All regions cover the spot market, while in the US there is also a distributor price assessment. The independent pricing information is gathered locally by our network of reporters. Commentary and analysis covers regional activity, upstream news, production updates and graphs, ensuring you are equipped with the latest market movements when making your commercial judgements.
Updated to Q4 2019
Asia’s ethyl acetate (etac) supply decreased as two plants in Japan and South Korea were shut for maintenance, followed by a spate of unplanned outages in China affecting four plants. Supply in China remained snug in December due to the prolonged outage at one of the plants, leading to a short-term snug supply situation, which bolstered the year-end market. Firmer feedstock ethanol costs in China were also a concern for etac producers.
Asian etac demand was largely unchanged from third-quarter 2019, with replenishing activities on a need-to basis. The downbeat sentiment in the amply-supplied upstream acetic acid market led buyers to adopt a conservative approach on concerns of feedstock-driven price corrections. In Taiwan, weaker-than-anticipated downstream demand slowed the absorption of imports. The Philippines market saw an abundance of stocks, following a delay in shipments to late November from September due to a shortage of vessels.
Asia supply was tight in Q4 2019. Many Chinese producers were operating their units at reduced rates for most of the quarter as co-feedstock ethanol supply was restricted due to delivery issues from north China. Further, several unexpected plant outages in December lead to severe shortages and delays in the dispatch of end-December arrival cargoes.
Demand held steady as buyers replenished stocks early in the quarter on expectations of a slowdown in the distribution market as end-users typically keep inventories low for the year-end. Buying sentiment was muted at the close of the quarter in a response to higher prices supported by lowered inventory levels in China.
European supply of ethyl acetate (etac) was ample throughout the final quarter of 2019, despite an ongoing force majeure from major producer INEOS and sales controls from major importer Celanese. Low demand limited pressure on availability of etac throughout 2019 and this was even more pronounced in the final quarter of the year when demand is seasonally weaker.
Demand for etac continued to be weak during the fourth quarter of 2019. There was a further reduction in demand in November and December due to buyers managing inventories ahead of year-end and market players taking holidays during the second half of December.
Supply of ethyl acetate (etac) was mixed in the fourth quarter of 2019 as product was readily available early in the quarter but tightened towards the end. Europe continues to face a force majeure on the product as well as sales control, limiting import supply into the US. An upstream outage in the US also continues, placing additional supply pressure on etac.
Demand for etac in the fourth quarter fell as winter lessened buying interest and the US holidays lessened market activity. Downstream demand for most products was weaker than usual, as was the case for most of 2019 while demand for paints and coatings strengthened despite a poor economic outlook.
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Ethyl Acetate Methodology
The major outlet for ethyl acetate (EAC) is coatings which account for 60% of demand. Process solvents, including pharmaceuticals and organic synthesis, account for 15% while printing inks are also estimated at 15%.
Ethyl acetate (etac) is a colourless, mobile, volatile liquid, with a characteristic pleasant fruity odour. It is highly flammable, soluble in ethyl alcohol and ether but slightly soluble in water.
It is used in a variety of coating formulations such as epoxies, urethanes, cellulosics, acrylics and vinyls. Applications for these coatings are numerous including wood furniture and fixtures, agricultural, construction and mining equipment, auto refinishing, and maintenance and marine uses.
Ethyl acetate has applications as a solvent in inks for flexographic and rotogravure printing. It is used as an extraction solvent in the production of pharmaceuticals and food, and as a carrier solvent for herbicides. High purity product can be used as a viscosity reducer for resins used in photoresist formulations in the electronics industry.
As an active solvent, etac is available in three grades: 85-88%, 99% and 99.5% (urethane grade). The most popular is 99% grade which is chiefly used in industrial lacquers and enamels.
Miscellaneous uses of etac include adhesives and cosmetics.
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