LONDON (ICIS)--The European acetone market may lengthen if US authorities place antidumping duties (ADDs) on material from the EU.
However, a few European sources have contested the likelihood that the US will impose these ADDs.
US producers AdvanSix, Olin and Altivia filed ADD petitions with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US Department of Commerce in mid-February regarding acetone imports.
The petition specifically named imports from Belgium, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Spain as being dumped in the US.
It added that acetone from these countries was causing material injury to the US industry.
The CEO of AdvanSix also said that preliminary US ADDs could become active as soon as mid-September.
European participants said that the tariffs, if imposed, will create an inevitable reshuffling of trade flows that will result in more material staying or arriving in the EU.
“The product is going to come to Europe and, to be honest, here there is no space to take the acetone,” said a producer.
This is all occurring amid an ongoing Chinese antidumping investigation on phenol imports from the US, the EU, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
Asian sources expect preliminary results from the probe to be released in March.
Antidumping investigations on co-product phenol in China as well as acetone in the US indicate that there may be numerous trade barriers in the markets in the future.
“More ADDs … on US phenol might follow and we [could] have trade restrictions all over the place,” said a trader.
However, some European participants doubted that the US would place duties on acetone.
This is as numerous regions globally were experiencing tight phenol conditions alongside well-supplied acetone dynamics.
Many producers worldwide increased margins via phenol pricing in response, even if acetone spot levels softened in the past year.
As a result, European sources argued that it would be hard to prove acetone was being dumped based on production cost and profit.
Acetone can be used in solvent applications and in the manufacture of chemicals for the coatings, plastics, construction and automotive industries.
Eurostat import/export data is subject to revision as more detailed information becomes available. EU figures comprise the aggregate of member states data published by Eurostat.
Picture source: Jochen Tack/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock
Focus article by Pavle Popovic
Additional reporting by Nick Cleeve