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 Q1 2019
MEK supply is likely to stay long in Q1 2019, with mixed sentiments in the market. Some market players hoped there would be some restocking activities before the Lunar New Year in early February, which should ease the long supply situation. Others were more bearish, expecting the market to buy only after the festive holidays, in late Q1.
Sentiment in the market was mixed, with some market players expecting some restocking activities prior to the Lunar New Year in most parts of Asia in early February. Others were more bearish, anticipating that most players would only return to the market in mid to late February, after the festivities.
European methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is set to remain readily available in the first quarter of 2019. There is some expectation for reduced competitively- priced Asian flows into Europe, though, due to a tighter arbitrage gap. This would in turn improve the balance of the market.
The MEK market is largely expected to remain structurally long in the first quarter of the year, with supply exceeding demand. The first quarter of the year is a low season for MEK. More than half of global demand for MEK comes from the paints and coatings industry, which peaks in the spring season.
Supply of US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) should remain ample into the first quarter of 2019. MEK is not produced in the US, so the region relies on imports largely from Europe, South Africa and Asia. Imports from China are likely to be impacted by 10% tariffs, which went into effect on 24 September.
Demand for US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) could see a bump in the first part of 2019 after wildfires and hurricanes caused damage to thousands of homes. MEK is used as a solvent in paints and coatings and about 60% of MEK demand is from the paints and coatings sector.
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).