Acetone is a basic building block for industrial materials, but in our industry, it is primarily used as a solvent and for rinsing glassware.

Market Dynamics:
About 97% of the world's acetone production is as a by-product of phenol and is dependent on phenol demand (ie, if there is no demand for phenol, acetone is not produced). 

The largest consumer of phenol is the solvent market followed by the construction market, where it is used in the manufacture of polycarbonates (PC) and epoxy resins (materials used in construction). Thus when new housing starts are down phenol production is down and acetone can become tight. The largest user of acetone is Methyl methyacrylate (MMA) and Bisphenol A (BPA).

However, pricing and availability of acetone often mirrors the upstream material propylene and downstream material MMA. 

Up Stream Materials/Building Blocks:

Crude Oil


Phenol (co-product) 


Down Stream Materials Consuming Acetone:

Solvent (30%)

Methyl methacrylate 
Bisphenol A (BPA)

Phenol (Coproduct)

Acetone cyanohydrin 



Heavy-duty degreaser

Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)

Diacetone alcohol

Hexylene glycol