US ACN prices increase $50-100/tonne on tight supply, stable demand

14 January 2011 16:39  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US spot prices for acrylonitrile (ACN) jumped by $50-100/tonne (€38-75/tonne) as supply tightened and demand remained stable, sources said on Friday.

Pemex’s 60,000 tonne/year Veracruz ACN plant in Mexico was shut down for maintenance on 10 January and is not planned to restart until 25 January, removing an estimated 2,700 tonnes of material from the market, sources said.

Also, INEOS is planning to shut down its 540,000 tonne/year Green Lake ACN plant in Texas for maintenance for the month of February.

Following the increase, US spot ACN prices were at $2,200-2,300/tonne, as assessed by ICIS.

Several spot market players said they were holding on to February material at the moment in efforts to see if the market price would continue to increase. Sources expect US ACN prices to increase because of continued tight supply and rising feedstock costs from chemical-grade propylene (CGP).

On Friday, the US CGP contract price settled up by 15.00 cents/lb. Sources said much to all of the feedstock cost increase could get passed on to downstream buyers.

Spot ACN prices have increased by $350/tonne, as assessed by ICIS, since the start of October 2010 on tight supply and strong demand from the downstream acrylic fibre (AF) segment.

Sources said that AF demand had remained strong despite AF prices surging higher because of increasing ACN prices. However, several market players were unsure how long AF demand could remain strong in light of increasing ACN prices.

Demand from the acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) copolymer segment was also said to be strengthening.

Major US producers of ACN are Ascend Performance Materials, Cytec Industries and INEOS Nitriles.

($1 = €0.75)

To learn more about acrylonitrile visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: John Dietrich

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