US ACN spot prices increase on demand, could see additional increases

06 January 2012 18:18  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylonitrile (ACN) spot prices increased this week to $1,700–1,750/tonne (€1,326–1,365/tonne) from $1,620-1,665 in the week of 23 December because of increasing demand, market sources said on Friday.

A producer said spot prices could eclipse the $1,800/tonne mark before the end of the month.

The demand was coming from buyers who depleted inventories ahead of the end of the year, producers said. Demand was also fuelled by an effort to build up inventory before several crackers shut for scheduled maintenance turnarounds.

It has been estimated that between seven and nine crackers will have maintenance turnarounds in the first six months of 2012.

One market source said it is possible that the planned maintenance turnarounds could be moved up in an effort to have the work completed before demand for material ramps up significantly.

One buyer believes it will be demand – more than feedstock costs – that will dictate the prices.

Costs for feedstocks ammonia and propylene have been unchanged until recently.

An initial US January propylene contract settlement came in as a rollover from December. Ammonia prices remain unchanged.

A producer in the US said demand is definitely on an upswing, although supply is somewhat limited because of lower production rates during the last quarter of 2011.

Earlier in the week, the formula-based ACN December contract price as assessed by ICIS decreased by an average of 4% from November on decreased feedstock costs of ammonia and propylene in December.

US producers of ACN include Ascend Performance Materials, Cornerstone Chemical and INEOS Nitriles. Producers in central and South America include Unigel in Mexico and Acrinor in Brazil.

($1 = €0.78)

For more on acrylonitrile visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Wesley Busch
+1 713 525 2653

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