The Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) markets are covered by ICIS on a weekly basis in Asia, Europe and the US. These benchmark assessments, used widely by industry, are key to keeping you fully informed of market developments.
Prices are predominantly for the spot market, though domestic and regional quotes also appear. Our locally-based reporters give informed but unbiased commentary on market overviews, upstream and downstream movements, economic news, graphs and plant shutdowns/operating rates, when applicable.
Updated to Q4 2018
Asian spot availability is likely to be balanced to tight, with most plants expected to be up and running after their scheduled turnarounds, and those on reduced production to ramp up to full production. Chinese plants may be affected by the blue-sky initiative, especially during the winter months.
Demand is expected to pick up in anticipation of the year-end and new year holidays, bolstered by typically strong downstream demand in inks, paints and coatings. Demand usually increases after the lull season in the third quarter, when the weather takes a turn for the better.
The European MEK market could face some more downward pressure in the fourth quarter of the year as the market continues rebalancing after sharp hikes and tight conditions in 2017. Supply is expected to remain sufficient throughout the quarter despite a planned turnaround taking place in November.
Demand is set to decrease in line with the traditional end of year slowdown. Supply and demand dynamics are likely to remain the key factor for MEK prices in Q4 2018, as opposed to upstream price adjustments.
Supply of US MEK is likely to remain ample through the fourth quarter of 2018. European producer INEOS has a turnaround planned for early November at its plant in Moers, Germany. MEK is not produced in the US, with the region relying on imports largely from Europe, South Africa and Asia.
Demand is expected to remain stable into the fourth quarter, supported by a strong US economy. MEK is used as a solvent in paints and coatings and generally sees peak demand in the summer. After a late start to winter, there is sentiment in the market that the coatings season could extend into November.
We offer the following regional Methyl ethyl ketone analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Methyl ethyl ketone marketplace.
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The main application for methyl-ethyl ketone (MEK) is as a low-boiling solvent for nitrocellulose, acrylic and vinyl surface coatings.
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is a colourless, mobile, flammable liquid with an acetone like odour. It is soluble in ethyl alcohol, benzene, ether and acetone, and miscible with oils. It is also a fast-evaporating active solvent with an evaporation rate similar to ethyl acetate.
The main application for MEK is as a low-boiling solvent for nitrocellulose, acrylic and vinyl surface coatings. Around half of global MEK demand is derived from the paints and coatings industry. Its advantage is that low viscosity solutions can be obtained, having a high solids content, without affecting the film properties. These lacquers are used in the automotive, electrical goods and furniture industries.
MEK can also be used in rubber-based industrial cements and printing inks. Its fast evaporation rate makes it popular for rubber-based industrial cements, low-temperature bonding agents and as an azeotropic separation solvent for printing inks. It is also a component of the solvent system used in producing magnetic tape.
MEK is also a solvent required for the polymerisation processing of polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), and styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR).
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