Europe ACN prices continue ascent on feedstock

24 February 2012 15:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Bullish sentiment in the European acrylonitrile (ACN) market continues to take hold on the back of concerns over raw material shortages and strong development in Asia, sources said on Friday.

February business is done and European manufacturers insist they will not sell below $2,100/tonne (€1,575/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance, freight) WE (western Europe) for March, up from $1,700–1,800/tonne at the start of the year.

One buyer said that it is still getting offers in the $2,000s/tonne for March shipment but others concede that values will be above $2,100/tonne CIF WE.

An end-user in Spain confirmed that it bought a 2,000 tonne cargo for end of March/early April delivery at $2,110/tonne CIF, but fears that numbers could reach $2,300/tonne before they stabilise.

Indeed, rumours were heard of a deal between a US supplier and European buyer already being done at $2,300/tonne CIF for April delivery, but this was unconfirmed.

European manufacturers are looking to catch up with the prices being seen in other regions. Northeast Asian figures are heard at around $2,150–2,200/tonne CFR, amid a spate of plant shutdowns.

In addition, Ineos has had to scale back ACN production at its 300,000 tonne/year plant in Cologne because of problems with upstream propylene availability.

The Switzerland-headquartered petrochemical firm declared force majeure on propylene supplies from the German site after a leak on the superheater forced the No.4 cracker to shut down at the end of last week.

Initial indications suggest it is likely to be off line for around 21 days.

Ineos is therefore trying to supplement the propylene shortfall on the spot market, and in the meantime has been forced to limit ACN production, a company source said.

European spot ACN prices are now pegged at $2,080–2,110/tonne CIF WE.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on ACN visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Amandeep Parmar
+44 208 652 3214

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