Europe ACN spot prices rise 20-22% in 13 weeks

22 February 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European spot acrylonitrile (ACN) prices have risen to $1,920-1,995/tonne (€1,459-1,516/tonne), sources confirmed on Friday, a rise of 20-22% in the past 13 weeks.

European ACN spot prices are increasing because of sellers’ need to restore margins against propylene, and a lack of imports from overseas.

Spot prices were weak in November because of falling Asian spot prices – a key importer of European material – and year-end destocking.

Two 2,000 tonne deals were confirmed for delivery in March at $1,995/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) W (western) Europe, the buyer and seller involved confirmed.

A producer said it had sold several cargoes totalling 10,000 tonnes for March delivery at $2,000/tonne, but this could not be confirmed on the buy side.

Another producer said that it had sold a 2,000 tonne cargo or $1,860/tonne FOB (free on board) – a CIF equivalent of $1,920/tonne, but this could not be confirmed on the buy side. However, this fell within wider bid and offer ideas from the market.

Bids and offers fell within a $1,900-2,000/tonne range, with the bulk of ideas sitting around the $1,950/tonne level.

Asian buying interest for ACN and finished goods is high because of a combination of post-Lunar New Year restocking and tight domestic supply. Domestic supply is tight because producers have reduced operating rates. This has led to an increase in inquiries for European material, as buyers look to make up local shortfalls.

Nevertheless, with ACN spot prices in Asia at $1,950-2,050/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia, and freight rates from Europe in the mid-$100s/tonne – depending on departure port – the arbitrage window is closed.

Tight supply in Asia and high production costs in the US have meant that imports – which had been entering the market at distressed prices in January – are no longer available, allowing prices to rise in line with European production costs, some sources said.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Mark Victory
+44 208 652 3214

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