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Acrylic acid-Acrylate esters: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2018
The Chinese producers have been agile in adjusting their operation rates to prevent a supply overhang so some market players believed inventory level in China would be kept manageable. Some market players were however, concerned that with supply turning ample due to a slowdown of demand in winter and ahead of the Lunar New Year, Chinese suppliers might export cargoes to offload volumes from the China domestic market, which would give pressure to Asian prices. In the Asia market, supply from regional suppliers would likely remain stable in Q1 2018.
Demand from the China domestic market is expected to remain show till after the Lunar New Year at the end of February. This is because downstream plants usually cut their production output during the holiday and will not require to keep too much stock. Business will likely resume to normal from end February/early March and demand might see an uplift then.
European acrylic acid (AA) supply through the first quarter of 2018 is likely to be more available compared with the fourth quarter. Planned and unplanned outages that had limited availability in the previous quarter are no longer an issue in the market as normal production has now resumed in Europe.
European demand for acrylic acid (AA) in the first quarter of 2018 is expected to start slow in the first half of January, but pick up in the second half as players refill inventory after December destocking. February and March demand is expected to remain stable after the pick-up.
The US acrylic acid supply outlook for the first quarter of 2018 is mixed, with producers suggesting supply will be tight, partly on a carryover from reduced supply in the previous quarter that may worsen with heightened demand as the spring coatings season approaches. Some buyers anticipate balanced-to-ample supply, even with stronger seasonal demand.
Acrylic acid demand and pricing is expected to increase within the first quarter of 2018, though price gains may be moderated if more propylene production comes on stream. Barring prolonged severe winter weather, recovery-driven rebuilding and repainting will continue to gain momentum following the 2017 hurricanes and the California wildfires, but those activities are likely to reach their peak later in the quarter.
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Acrylic Acid/Acrylate Esters Methodology
About Acrylic acid-Acrylate esters
Acrylate esters are colourless liquids with acrid odours, and are traded as technical grade (99% purity). Methyl acrylate and ethyl acrylate are toxic enough to require a hazardous shipping label, while butyl acrylate and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2EHA) are considered safe.
Acrylate esters are used in the manufacture of surface coatings/paints and resins, adhesives and plastics, dispersions and in some cases paper.
They are readily polymerised if exposed in water, to form a latex (a dispersion of solid particles in water) such as latex paints.
An associated product is methyl methacrylate. Acrylate esters are made from the reaction of an alcohol to an acid such as acrylic acid. This process is called esterification.