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Acrylic acid-Acrylate esters: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2018
Supply in Asia outside China is expected to be curtailed in Q2 2018. A southeast Asian acrylic acid plant just restarted from a turnaround in end-March. Meanwhile, another southeast Asian plant is widely expected to go on a turnaround in April, according to market players. A butyl acrylate plant in southeast Asia is also expected to shut down permanently in April or May, according to market players. Supply in China was ample at the start of Q2 as demand was not strong. Meanwhile, supply in India might be affected with tighter supply from southeast Asian suppliers.
Demand is expected to improve in Asia in April and May, ahead of the downstream paint and coating sectors’ peak season that will start in June. In India, April is the start of the new financial year when demand typically picks up.
Supply for the European acrylic acid market in the second quarter will not be as long as in the first quarter. This is in part because of planned maintenances set to take place over the spring and summer, and because of expectations of increased demand from the acrylate esters market in what is typically the healthiest demand period because of increased activity in the coatings and construction sectors.
Demand for European acrylic acid is likely to be stable to slightly firmer in the second quarter as demand for acrylate esters is expected to increase during that period. Buying interest from the superabsorbent polymer (SAP) and water treatment sectors is expected to be more in line with that seen during the first quarter.
US acrylic acid supply will continue snug-to-tight during the second quarter of 2018, stemming from ongoing order controls from a major producer and peak seasonal demand from the US spring paint and coatings season. Although planned spring maintenance is typically preceded by inventory stockpiling, already tight supply may strain available volumes during the quarter.
US acrylic acid demand during the second quarter of 2018 is expected to see its usual peak during the spring paint and coatings season, but that demand will be heightened by pent-up buying interest stemming from late-2017 catastrophic weather in the US Gulf and wildfires in California, requiring renovations and rebuilds.
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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.