Europe spot ACN prices continue to soar despite balanced market

17 February 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Spot acrylonitrile (ACN) is unavailable now for less than $2,000/tonne (€1520/tonne) and several sources expect prices to hit $2,100/tonne or above in March, buyers and sellers said on Friday.

The highest priced deal in Europe for a 2,000 tonne cargo so far has been at $2,050/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) WE (western Europe), although one producer said it sold a 1,000 tonne parcel for $2,100/tonne FOB (free on board) ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) last week, adding that this is the lowest price it will now sell at.

February deals are done and March negotiations are now starting. One trader said values could reach $2,200/tonne CIF WE by the end of March, while a buyer in Egypt said deals for next month were already completed at $2,060/tonne CFR (cost & freight).

However, several buyers and traders were querying why prices are so bullish because despite strong demand, the market remains balanced and producers are all running at 100%.

Sources partly blame raw material cost pressure – with February propylene up by €90/tonne ($118/tonne) – and the firming sentiment in Asia, where prices have already hit $2,200/tonne CFR.

A couple of European sellers stated that this makes domestic ACN very attractive on the international scene, and that exports to Asia are becoming a very real possibility.

Buyers warn that values are shooting up too fast and that the market could see a crash similar to last year, when ACN prices soared by $550–650/tonne between January and May – to a peak of $2,850–3,000/tonne CIF WE – before crashing back down to $1,600–1,800/tonne by November.

Spot prices are currently in a range of $2,000–2,060/tonne CIF WE.

($1 = €0.76)

For more on ACN visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Amandeep Parmar
+44 208 652 3214

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