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Updated to Q4 2019
Prices were on a steady decline on ample supply and weak demand. Chinese producers took on productions cuts, as margins became negative. Chinese domestic prices were supported by reduced supply, but the wider Asian market remained sluggish, and Chinese exports became less active on unattractive export prices. A producer in Taiwan encountered production issues. Supply from various origins remained ample and sell competition persisted, adding pressure on prices.
Demand was sluggish on weak market fundamentals and economy. Buyers were not in a hurry to buy amid ample supply and focused on keeping inventory lean during the year-end. Some buyers were covered by contract volumes and had no requirement for spot cargoes. In India, buyers replenished on a need-to basis as they had sufficient inventories. There was limited replenshing activities in China before the Lunar New Year.
European acrylic acid (AA) supply was long throughout the fourth quarter, which is a seasonal low point in the market. Production was also running well, with producers struggling to manage inventory as the year came to an end.
Demand traditionally deflates in the last quarter of the year, as temperatures fall and some applications are no longer possible.
US acrylic acid supply during the fourth quarter of 2019 was plentiful. Along with seasonally weak demand during most of the period and a largely downward trajectory in precursor chemical-grade propylene (CGP), pricing also trended lower. Supply of acrylic acid, which is used in the production of coatings and adhesives, as well as in water treatment and superabsorbent polymers (SAP), broadly outpaced demand during much of the fourth quarter of 2019.
Demand for US acrylic acid continued mostly weaker at the end of 2019 amid a delayed and below-average downstream architectural and automobile coatings season. Although some latent demand surfaced in November and early December, the uptick was attributed to a wet September-October period during which some paint makers often see a final surge of buying interest each year. Fourth-quarter prices drifted lower on residual destocking and withering buying interest during the major year-end holidays.
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Acrylic Acid and Acrylate Esters in Europe are covered under separate entries. These products are combined in the regional reports published in Asia and the United States. Please see separate entries for information on the European market.
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.
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