EPCA ’12: Europe 2013 AA demand outlook positive - producer

07 October 2012 11:46  [Source: ICIS news]

BUDAPEST (ICIS)--The acrylics demand outlook for 2013 so far seems positive, a European acrylic acid (AA) producer said on Sunday.

"Our customers said demand next year is going to be good, and we are actually nearly sold out for 2013," the supplier said on the sidelines of the 46th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

"The news is encouraging," the producer explained, given the caution in the market resulting from weakened macroeconomics.

The producer added that the supply balance in Europe has not yet been particularly affected by the plant explosion at Japanese company Nippon Shokubai’s Himeji facility last weekend. 

Nippon Shokubai’s AA and super absorbent polymer (SAP) facilities at Himeji in western Japan shut after an explosion on 29 September, a company spokesperson previously said.

Asia’s AA and acrylate esters spot prices are likely to trend upwards following the abrupt shutdown, and on the back of continued increases in Chinese domestic prices. 

The company suspended all operations at all its facilities at Himeji – including a 460,000 tonne/year AA unit and a 320,000 tonne/year unit for SAP, which is a feedstock for nappy production – although the plants were not damaged, the spokesperson said. It is not yet known when the plants can restart.

The company’s Himeji production facilities cater to about 18% of the annual 1.8m tonnes in global SAP demand, and 10% of the world’s 4m tonnes of AA demand per year.

European players said the market "felt busier" last week, but added that it is too early to assess the impact of the explosion on Europe, adding that any impact would only become clear next week. 

"At the moment suppliers are able to compensate for the lack of volumes without affecting the global supply balance too much," the producer added.

European AA and acrylate esters contracts in October are settling at rollovers and with increases of up to €20/tonne ($26/tonne), according to sources. Negotiations are ongoing.

The annual EPCA meeting runs from 6-10 October.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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