Asia ACN prices
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot acrylonitrile (ACN) prices in Asia rose to a two-year high and may continue their uptrend in the near term on the back of rising production cost and tight supply.Asia ACN prices
On 17 February, prices were assessed at $1,480-1,520/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia, which were last seen at around the same time in 2015, according to ICIS data.Asia ACN prices
Prices have risen by 26% since late December 2016, the data showed.Asia ACN prices
Producers are hiking prices in line with higher costs of feedstock propylene, which gained 10% since the start of the year to around $1,000/tonne CFR NE Asia on 17 February.
“Propylene prices are rising too fast, so we have no choice but to raise the prices,” a major Asian supplier said.Asia ACN prices
Major Asian suppliers with stocks in hand have been raising prices significantly to recoup their margins amid limited availability of spot materials.
Spot supply is being constrained by ongoing maintenance at plants in Taiwan and China, market sources said.
Formosa Plastics Corp’s (FPC) 280,000 tonne/year ACN unit in Mailiao, Taiwan, is down for a month-long maintenance from 9 February; while Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical’s 260,000 tonne/year unit in China was taken off line on 20 February and will remain off line up to 24 March.Asia ACN prices
In the first half of the year, three other plants in Asia are scheduled to undergo turnaround, which will further limit regional spot supply.
||Ulsan, South Korea
||245,000 (No 3 unit)
||May, one month
||26 March, 8-10 days
|Formosa Plastics Corp
||9 February-8 March
|Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical
||20 February-24 March
||September, 2-3 weeks
“I think ACN prices will extend the uptrend in coming weeks because of the tight supply,” a regional trader said.Asia ACN prices
Deep-sea cargoes are not likely to ease the supply crunch in Asia, as major US producers that export to the region have scheduled turnarounds at their plants in the second quarter, market sources said.
These US producers, namely, Ascend Performance Materials, INEOS Nitriles and Cornerstone Chemical, are currently building inventory and may not export much volumes to Asia, they said.
But further gains in Asian ACN prices may be tempered as most end-users in the region are covered by contract supply and were not keen to procure spot cargoes, market sources said.
“I hope ACN prices could rise slowly so that we are able to take time to digest the cost,” an end-user said.
Focus article by Judith Wang
Picture (top): Acrylonitrile (ACN) is used in the production of acrylic fibres, which go into home furnishings like sofas. (Source: Mito Images/REX/Shutterstock)
By Judith Wang