Methyl Isobutyl Ketone (MIBK) and Methyl Isobutyl Carbinol (MIBC)
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Published: February 2012
MIBK and MIBC prices are significantly affected by feedstock costs and the price of natural gas (the production of MIBK/MIBC is a very energy-intensive process). Along with the global economic crisis, weak demand in 2009 and lower raw material costs resulted in lower MIBK and MIBC prices. Stronger demand and higher feedstock costs helped boost prices for MIBK and MIBC throughout 2010 and most of 2011. However, at the end of 2011, prices started to slip on weaker demand and lower feedstock costs.
Production of some MIBK derivatives is moving out of the developed regions. Some applications (especially antiozonants) are moving to Asia, particularly China. MIBK consumption for antiozonants is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 8.5% in Asia (excluding Japan) and approximately 1.0–1.5% in the United States and Western Europe. World MIBK consumption will grow at an average rate of 3.8% per year from 2011 to 2016, driven by demand in Asia.
The following pie charts show world consumption of MIBK and MIBC.
Solvent applications consume the majority of MIBK in most regions and consumption is expected to stay relatively flat in the developed regions. There may be some reformulation in certain MIBK applications because of environmental regulations, but cost pressures may limit reformulation activity.
MIBC's major application is in the manufacture of lube oil additives, followed by its use as the principal flotation frother in treating copper and other ores. Surface coatings make up a minor portion of MIBC consumption. World MIBC statistics are difficult to estimate, but overall, MIBC will experience positive growth in lube oil applications and as a flotation frother (especially in actively mined regions). Consumption of MIBC worldwide is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2.5% during 2011–2016.