MEK, abbreviation for Methyl Ethyl Ketone, is a popular name in the solvents industry and is a widely preferred solvent for paints and coatings. It is estimated that half of the global demand for MEK comes from the paints and coatings industry. Its unique properties, especially that of a low boiling solvent, make it an ideal solvent for rubber based cements and printing inks, which contribute to its growing demand.
The global MEK market is dominated by select manufacturers only, and most of them are concentrated in China. Despite the demand being expected to be low in near future, the global supply has increased significantly, after the reopening of Asia’s largest facility. The facility with a production capacity of 170,000 tonne per year is owned by Japanese firm Maruzen Petrochemical, and is located in China. The shutdown of plant post the earthquake in China in 2011 for repair works, had dented the global supply of MEK, sending the global prices soaring to highest levels. The high prices had affected the global trade of MEK as end users resorted to alternate solvents. The crunching profit margins of traders further contributed to the fall in demand and consumption of MEK globally.
However, with global economy reviving the market is showing signs of recovery, and is expected to see acceleration in its growth rate. The market in Europe is expected to show flat growth trends due to rising health concerns and stringent regulations, which are restricting the use of MEK. In U.S market, the demand will be stable and drop in prices is expected to loft it higher in due course of time. However, in situations of global prices not reviving the market is expected to see a further drop in growth. Most of its growth is expected in Asia market, with china leading the pack. The U.S and Europe markets are at maturity, and will remain flat.
The categorization of MEK as a HAP (Hazardous Air Pollutant) chemical in 1980s in U.S and then removal from the HAP list in 2005 have not helped the market to revive, despite the growing American housing sector. The slumping automobile industry had further contributed to stagnant growth of the MEK market in U.S. This has forced U.S chemical companies to look for alternate markets. The chemical company Celanese exited the U.S market and closed its production plant in Texas in 2009, following the U.S market growth retardation. However, the fast expanding housing sector in emerging markets of China, India, and other Asian countries, is expected to drive the market growth.
Some of the leading market players include names such as - Maruzen Petrochemical Co Ltd., Shell Chemicals, Solventis Ltd., Arkema Inc., Sasol Solvents, ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd., Tasco Chemical Corp., and Celanese AG.
This research report analyzes this market depending on its market segments, major geographies, and current market trends.
Geographies analyzed under this research report include
- North America
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of the World
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- Current market trends
- Market structure
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