US April ACN contracts hit record on tight supply, high propylene

29 April 2011 18:31  [Source: ICIS news]

US ACN contracts hit recordHOUSTON (ICIS)--US April domestic contract prices for acrylonitrile (ACN) were assessed at a record high on Friday, based on supply tightness and a record propylene settlement in April.

Domestic prices were assessed at 125.86–129.90 cents/lb ($2,775-2,864/tonne, €1,859-1,919/tonne) FOB (free on board), representing an estimated 12.2% increase from March levels.

Export contract prices were assessed at 127–131.72 cents/lb FOB.

The increase is largely based on the rising US propylene contracts, which settled higher by 15 cents/lb in April, a record-breaking settlement for the monomer.

The 20% increase, which stemmed from tight supply and firm demand, lifted chemical-grade propylene (CGP) to 86 cents/lb.

The ACN market was also impacted by limited supply following a force majeure (FM) by US producer Cornerstone Chemical.

Cornerstone declared FM at its 227,250 tonne/year plant in Fortier, Louisiana, effective on 4 April. The company also put customers on 75% sales allocation ahead of its planned turnaround in May.

The increased ACN contract prices followed a month of sharply rising spot prices, which increased $250–300/tonne.

Spot prices were assessed at $2,900–3,000/tonne FOB on Friday, unchanged from the previous week, because no fresh spot deals were heard.

Market participants heard offers above the $3,000/tonne range, but said they did not think anyone was buying at that level.

The rising prices could keep some producers out of the spot market out of fear that they will not be able to recover rising material costs, market sources said.

Major US ACN producers are Ascend Performance Materials, Cornerstone and INEOS Nitriles.

($1 = €0.67)

For more on acrylonitrile visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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