24 March 2013 15:08 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Traders are talking to producers about possibly exporting acrylonitrile (ACN) from Asia and North America to Europe to meet demand, market sources confirmed on Sunday .
Supply of ACN is normally tight in Europe, sources said, and with a number of planned production shutdowns happening in the coming months, traders are starting to talk about importing ACN to meet demand for the fibre business.
“This will not be to feed the ABS market, which mostly uses contract acrylo,” one source said on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC). “This will be for the fibre market, which uses more spot supply.”
Another source said the move is based solely on tight supply in Europe, rather than any favorable shift in pricing that makes it cost effective to bring ACN into Europe or any sudden spike in demand.
“For some buyers they’d prefer to buy acrylo in Europe,” that source said. “But if it’s not available, they have to go elsewhere, even at unfavorable prices.”
According to the latest ICIS pricing reports, ACN prices in Asia were stable-to-soft for the week ended 22 March because of weak market fundamentals and lower buying ideas. Sporadic selling indications were heard at $2,000-2,050/tonne CFR NE Asia, but buying ideas were heard at $1,800-1,850/tonne CFR NE Asia.
In the US, the spot ACN price ranged between $1,850-2,000/tonne. In Europe, where the spot price ranged from $1,900-1950/tonne CIF WE, some acrylic fibre producers have estimated their year-to-date demand at up to 30% below the same period in 2012.
US producers of ACN include Ascend Performance Materials; Cornerstone Chemical and INEOS Nitriles.
Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC continues through Tuesday.
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