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 Q2 2019
China reduced operation rates in Q2 2019, as producers sought to cut losses and prevent a build-up of inventory amid weak market conditions. The downtrend was due to weak downstream consumption amid an economic slowdown across Asia. Some short-term outages for ethyl acetate (etac) plants were also due to safety and environmental inspections. In June, outages due to upstream acetic acid supply tightness helped to balance supply amid weak demand.
Demand did not improve in the traditional spring peak season, owing to uncertainties stemming from the US-China trade war and an economic slowdown. An explosion at a chemical plant in Jiangsu, China, heightened safety measures and inspections, resulting in lower downstream plant run rates. In Asia, there were several elections and long holidays, stalling purchasing. Local inventories moved slowly as end-users bought on a hand-to-mouth basis.
Supply of ethyl acetate (etac) was long throughout Q2 2019. Domestic capacity increased by 70,000 tonnes/year from last year following the completion of the expansion at INEOS’s Hull, UK, site. Significant import volumes arrived in March and April, attracted by high prices in February. Import volumes to Europe were supported during the second quarter by weak demand in Asia and the US, with Europe still an attractive export destination despite falling prices.
Demand remained quiet throughout the second quarter. This was driven by falling prices which encouraged buyers to delay purchases in anticipation of paying less for material and a lack of seasonal demand from the coatings sector. Some sources saw a slight increase in seasonal demand in June, but it continued to be weak for the time of year, which is typically the peak for consumption of etac.
Supply of ethyl acetate (etac) was ample for the second quarter as demand for the petrochemical sector as a whole was weaker year on year and plants were operating at healthy rates with no feedstock issues. Imports of etac were also ample. Imports continued to flow into the US to offset the shortage of material in 2018 and start of 2019 from production issues.
Demand for etac in the US was weaker than expected as the petrochemical sector faced a dim economic outlook and falling sales in major downstream sectors. Many buyers were buying on an as needed basis even as prices continued to decline. Although demand typically increases in the summer coatings season, buyers seemed more reluctant than usual to buy in large quantities.
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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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