FocusAsia ACN may rise further on limited supply, China demand

23 November 2011 04:19  [Source: ICIS news]

ACN is used in the production of acrylic fibres, which go into clothing and home furnishings such as carpets, upholstery and cushions.By Helen Yan

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot acrylonitrile (ACN) prices in Asia look set to rise further, after rebounding from six months of steady decline, as supply has tightened and buying interest from China has emerged, industry sources said on Wednesday.

ACN prices have gained about 5% over the past two weeks to $1,650-1,700/tonne (€1,221-1,258/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast Asia), recovering from a 45% slump between late April to early November, according to ICIS.

Prices bottomed out on 4 November at $1,550-1,650/tonne CFR NE Asia, the data showed.

With regional producers having limited cargoes to sell to the spot market because of a spate of production cutbacks and plant turnarounds since October, ACN prices are likely to continue rising.

ACN is used in the production of acrylic fibres, which go into clothing and home furnishings such as carpets, upholstery and cushions.

“We will not sell below $1,750/tonne CFR NE Asia as we have limited spot availability,” a northeast Asian ACN producer said.

Major ACN producers in Asia, including Japan’s Asahi Kasei, South Korea’s Taekwang Industrial, China’s Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical and Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) have been running their plants at reduced rates of 80% of capacities in the past month because of weak demand and poor economics.

Other ACN producers, including China’s Jilin Petrochemical shut down two of its four lines in early October because of weak economics. Each of the two lines has a capacity of 106,000 tonnes/year.

Jilin’s two other ACN lines, each with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year, are running normally, said a company source.

Taiwan’s China Petrochemical Development Corp (CPDC) brought forward the turnaround of its No 1 line to early October from early November because of poor market conditions.

Its No 1 line underwent a debottlenecking process that raised the plant’s capacity to 120,000 tonnes/year from 95,000 tonnes/year. The plant was restarted early this week.

CPDC’s 120,000 tonne/year No 2 line, on the other hand, was shut in early November and is expected to restart by the end of the month.

“We expect ACN prices to go up to $1,800/tonne CFR NE Asia as supply is tighter and we have been receiving more enquiries from customers in the past week,” a trader said.

($1 = €0.74)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Helen Yan
+65 6780 4359

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