US acetone remains lengthy on low demand, downstream outages

Author: Jessie Waldheim

2019/11/15

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acetone supply remains lengthy as a downstream outage and lacklustre demand offsets lower production and lower imports.

The acetone market has been lengthy during 2019 amid low demand in automotive, an important end sector for key derivatives methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polycarbonate (PC).

Further limiting acetone consumption had been several outages in downstream MMA. An MMA plant in Beaumont, Texas, had recently restarted after a months-long outage, while a turnaround at an MMA plant in Memphis, Tennessee, continues.

The low consumption levels have kept acetone supply lengthy in recent months, despite lower import and production levels.

Imports had fallen off sharply in May and remain below typical levels amid an ongoing antidumping duty (ADD) investigation centred on the top five acetone exporters to the US.

Duties will be imposed on imports from Spain and Singapore, while preliminary deposits are being collected on imports from Belgium, South Africa and South Korea.

Acetone production rates remain low amid low demand for co-product phenol, which is also facing headwinds from the automotive sector.

October barge acetone contracts are assessed at 34.5 cents/lb ($761/tonne) DEL (delivered). October truck acetone contract prices are assessed at 29-32 cents/lb  DEL for the US Gulf and the Midwest.

Acetone can be used in solvent applications and in the manufacture of chemicals for the coatings, plastics, construction and automotive industries.

Major US acetone producers are INEOS Phenol, Altivia, AdvanSix, Shell Chemicals, SABIC and Olin.