Acetone supply is projected to tighten over the first half of the year because of ongoing slow phenol demand. MMA demand is slow to start the year, and is not expected to be as robust as it was in 2021 and early 2022, but it is projected to pick up for seasonal applications beginning in March. Acetone barge contracts will likely jump higher in March and then into summer, narrowing the spread between barge and truck values. Distribution prices are also expected to increase over the first half of the year. It is not expected that imports will provide alleviate domestic shortages. However, with China “reopening” phenol demand could begin to improve, which would prompt producers domestically and abroad to ramp up rates.

IPA markets remain light with tepid interest and adequate supply. Prices were largely unchanged to start the year, but higher costs and limited competition will likely prompt producers to begin making upward adjustments starting in March. Feedstock chemical grade propylene usually firms in the summer because of upstream costs and stronger demand, and this will likely be the primary factor impacting prices for the foreseeable future.
While not expected to surge above $6/gal like in 2022, many insiders anticipate another run up in spot toluene and MX barge prices heading into the summer. Sources note reduced refinery run rates has resulted in lower than expected gasoline inventories and
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*Please note forecasts are based on analysis of historical trends and cycles as well as expectations regarding future supply and demand patterns. The data is provided for informational purposes only and Chemical Intelligence does not assume any liability for any decisions attributed to reliance on said information.