The Acetic Acid report is published weekly in Asia, Europe and the US. Our locally based ICIS reporters gather news on spot and contract business, demand and supply issues, production, feedstock developments and any other influencing factors that will impact price movements. This enables ICIS to publish independent price assessments as well as news and analysis which those in the industry can use to make decisions with confidence.
Updated to Q1 2021
Supply declined during the quarter due to a slew of shutdowns in China, including plants belonging to Shanghai Huayi Chemicals, Hualu Hengsheng and Henan Shunda. Celanese and INEOS Petronas Acetyls also experienced plant outages. The supply of Saudi-origin cargoes to India was largely curtailed, as allocations were being prioritised for term customers in Europe. Harsh weather conditions in Texas, US, in February disrupted utilities and feedstock supplies, with Celanese announcing force majeure.
Offtake from the downstream VAM sector in Asia was buoyant amid tight supply and elevated margins, while new PTA capacities in China fuelled demand. However, downstream butac producers were running their facilities at reduced capacity, partly because of the lack of affiliated feedstock n-butanol.
Acetic acid supply tightness in Europe was exacerbated by the shutdown of most sites in the US Gulf in mid-February following the winter storm. As Europe imports most of its acetic acid from the US and, to a lesser extent from Asia, the availability of material was constrained. Several major suppliers put European customers on allocation in the wake of the freeze, reducing the amount of volumes delivered in March contracts and the spot market.
Demand for acetic acid remained stable and at a high level during the first quarter. Extremely tight supply from 2H Q1 saw an increase in complaints from buyers because of reduced volumes offered in March contracts, forcing many customers to scour the spot market for extra volumes. Sellers struggled to decide whether the strong buying appetite was down to real downstream demand or to panic buying by players eager to secure material before further price rises.
US acetic acid supplies tightened significantly following the freeze in February that shut much of the country’s production. Restarts were contingent upon upstream methanol restarts. Once acetic restarts began, ramping up to full production rates for exporting material moved into focus for much of the market.
Over the past quarter, demand for US acetic acid never faced a significant fall-off compared with other regions during much of the global pandemic and widespread lockdowns in the western hemisphere. Demand was supported by its usage in cleaning agents as well as from the downstream VAM sector.
Acetic acid news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Acetic acid analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Acetic acid marketplace.
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Acetic acid, a clear colourless liquid with a pungent odour, is used as a chemical intermediate and solvent with widespread applications throughout industry.
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.
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