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.
Updated to Q2 2019
Asia’s acrylonitrile (ACN) supply was short because of INEOS’ force majeures (FMs) in UK, Germany and the US, coupled with several plant turnarounds – including that of Asahi Kasei and PTT Asahi – in Asia. The arbitrage window between the US and Asia continued to be closed given the higher export prices in the US. Asia producers had limited spot cargoes amid low stocks, which led to few spot discussions in the market.
Demand was tepid in April and May, but dwindled in June. Rising ACN prices significantly squeezed downstream derivatives margins. Downstream acrylic fibre (AF) and ABS makers started to cut operating rates in May and June as they could not pass on the cost to their customers. Major ABS producers in Taiwan and Korea reduced their run rates by 10-20 percentage points in June, which dampened buying interest. Spot buying activity was very limited as most end-users were covered by their contracts.
Two force majeure declarations remained in place from INEOS Nitriles sites in the UK and Germany. There was also some planned maintenance from AnQore in mid-April for a month. The Germany site was running at normal rates at the end of the quarter, but allocation remained in place in the UK ahead of work at the end of July. Supply remained tight in June, but not as severe as in April and May.
The acrylic fibre (AF) sector continued to run at around 80-90%, depending on the player in the second quarter. Markets such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), because of a poorly performing automotive sector, are struggling in the current economic climate.
Supply decreased in the second quarter amid the outage at INEOS Nitriles’ Green Lake, Texas, acrylonitrile (ACN) plant. Supply also decreased during Ascend Performance Materials’ turnaround on AN3 at its Chocolate Bayou, Texas, plant from 3 May to 13 June. Cornerstone ramped up a production following a Q2 outage. Tight supply caused a major surge in spot export prices amid a lack of availability.
Demand increased in the second quarter as a result of severe supply tightness in the US and global ACN markets. Although operating rates in the main downstream acrylic fibres (AF) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) markets decreased as a result of surging ACN prices, demand for material increased amid scarce supply, with buyers willing to pay a premium to secure material. Demand in the carbon fibres, acrylamide and nylon sectors was healthy to strong.
We offer the following regional Acrylonitrile analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Acrylonitrile marketplace.
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Acrylonitrile (ACN) is used to make acrylic fibres, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN)
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.
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