Acrylonitrile markets are covered weekly by ICIS in Asia, Europe and the US by our network of locally based reporters.
The reports contain news and market analysis to help you keep abreast of global movements and include information on spot and contract prices, upstream and downstream markets, as well as production issues and any other influencing factors. This unbiased market intelligence can help you to make informed business decisions.
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Acrylonitrile: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
Supply is expected to remain tight, given a heavy line-up of plant turnarounds between July and September. More than 600,000 tonnes/year of total production capacity will go offline for durations of weeks to a month. Deep-sea cargoes are also limited, given tight availabilities in the US and Europe.
Demand will stay well supported by regular requirements from the ABS sector. There is further upside potential if the improved demand seen in late Q2 from the AF sector is also sustained, should downstream AF prices stay firm enough to support healthy margins for AF plants to ramp up operations.
INEOS had expected to have its plants back up and running in by the end of June. If demand dulls in summer, then this could be an opportunity for ACN stocks to refill. There are no other known planned outages in the coming quarter, a period of sustained production should help balance the market.
Demand could fall as the market enters the traditionally quiet summer period. An extended period of shortness, stretching back to 2017, may mean that demand maintains well into summer. As some buyers are already currently content that they receive their monthly needs, they are could push for more if it becomes available.
US ACN supplies are expected to improve but remain snug in the third quarter amid some relief in the global turnaround schedule. One US producer is expected to conduct maintenance in September or October, but has not yet confirmed dates, and fewer turnarounds are slated for Asia and Europe.
US ACN demand is expected to remain steady in the third quarter amid ongoing supply constraints and expected growth in the downstream acrylic fibres (AF) sector. Improving ACN supplies are expected to meet growing demand in China’s AF market as production ramps up in anticipation of the colder winter months.
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Acrylonitrile (ACN) is a clear, colourless or pale yellow flammable liquid with a sweet, pungent, irritating odour. It is partially soluble in water, soluble in most organic solvents (including ethyl alcohol, acetone, benzene, carbon tetrachloride and ethyl acetate), very reactive and polymerises violently in the presence of alkalis or peroxides.
ACN is used mainly as a monomer or comonomer in the production of synthetic fibres, plastics and elastomers. The largest outlet is in the manufacture of acrylic fibres, which are used in clothing. Acrylic fibres also have uses in home furnishings and bedding.
An important outlet for ACN is the acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)/styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) market.
The dominant route for the manufacture of ACN is the one-step propylene ammoxidation process, replacing the original acetylene-based technology. New technology based on propane ammoxidation is being developed by a number of ACN producers with claims of a 30% production cost advantage compared to the propylene route.