LONDON (ICIS)--The European domestic and export acetone spot ranges were unchanged this week, with the seasonal lull dominating market fundamentals.
The domestic range stood at €600-640/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), while the export range stood at $540-600/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam.
Such stable conditions could persist throughout August as sources do not expect dramatic changes in spite of turnarounds in the acetone and downstream methyl methacrylate (MMA) markets.
There is potential for low water levels in the Rhine to influence domestic pricing discussions in the future as deliveries of product becomes more and more difficult to organise.
High temperatures alongside a lack of rainfall recently reduced water levels in the River Rhine, which acts as a crucial shipping route for European chemicals.
However, in August so far there has been no effect on acetone domestic spot pricing yet from these logistical issues and demand remains quiet as supply stays long.
"Due to the simple fact that the low [Rhine water] level is going to increase transport costs, and since nobody is earning a fortune on acetone during normal times, of course the additional cost theoretically has to find a way somehow into the selling price," said a reseller.
This oversupply may balance eventually as planned maintenances from autumn onward could reduce ample availability.
One such turnaround is planned at German acetone seller Domo Caproleuna’s 99,000 tonne/year Leuna plant, which is set to start in September and finish within the month.
Therefore, September onward has gripped the focus of participants especially as demand typically rises after August.
"We have to somehow suffer in August and see the demand pick up in September," said a producer.
On the export spot market stability reigns as well, with a lack of activity noted by participants amid flat pricing.
Acetone can be used in solvent applications and in the manufacture of chemicals for the coatings, plastics, construction and automotive industries.