Acetic acid Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Acetic acid market, whether you buy or sell Acetic acid or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the news and analysis that put the market into focus, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
Acetic acid Overview Transcript
Most acetic acid is produced by methanol carbonylation. In this process methanol and carbon monoxide react to form acetic acid. The principal outlets for acetic acid are into vinyl acetate monomer or VAM, acetic anhydride and purified terephthalic acid or PTA. Europe is structurally dependent on imported material.
The largest European producer is BP which is based at Hull in the UK. There is also significant production in Serbia and Russia but other European plants are largely for internal consumption.
The main importers are Celanese and LyondellBasell from the US and International Acetyl Company based in Saudi Arabia. However, in a tight market buyers can source additional volumes from Asia.
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Acetic acid: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2014
US acetic acid FOB export prices are expected to remain largely flat in the near future. Sources cite a balanced domestic supply situation and say the only variable besides plant outages could be a colder-than-average winter in the US that would boost spot prices for feedstock methanol. Producers traditionally try to clear out inventories towards the year-end for tax purposes. However, no price increases have been announced by producers yet.
Asia’s acetic acid market players have a mixed outlook on the spot price direction in the fourth quarter, with buyers lobbying for lower prices in view of the spread between methanol and acetic acid remaining favourable for producers. Declining upstream crude values and the resultant lower energy costs for producers as well as weak regional economic data further dampened buyers’ sentiment.
Subdued demand is expected ahead of the year-end festive season and India’s Diwali festival. The return of supply from China may weigh on prices as well. On the other hand, the recent price rally in methanol prices and declining inventories may bolster acetic acid prices.
Exports from China to India resumed after a two-month hiatus, with two deals heard concluded for cargoes totalling 12,000 to 13,000 tonnes for loading in the second half of October. This took place after the buy-sell spread for Chinese products narrowed in line with sustained supply-driven price corrections in the Chinese domestic market.
The European acetic acid market is now seen as relatively stable. Following a period when material has been comparatively short and prices have responded accordingly, supply has eased a little and price momentum has slowed. Looking at the final quarter of 2014, players judge there will be little change in either supply or demand. Some tightness remains and sellers say this continues to underpin price levels.
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Acetic Acid Methodology
About Acetic acid
Acetic acid is a clear, colourless, mobile liquid with a pungent odour and acidic taste. It is miscible in water and most organic solvents but insoluble in mineral oils and carbon disulphide.
Acetic acid is used as a chemical intermediate and solvent with widespread applications throughout industry. The largest outlet is vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), which is used in paints, adhesives, textiles, paper, films and chewing gum. Many VAM plants are integrated with acetic acid facilities.
The production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is the second largest outlet consuming 18% of acetic acid production.
There are many other applications from fragrances to foodstuffs and dyes to detergents.