Acrylonitrile markets are covered weekly by ICIS in Asia, Europe and the US by our network of locally based reporters.
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Updated to Q1 2019
Asia’s acrylonitrile (ACN) supply is expected to remain ample in the first quarter of 2019 as there is only one plant maintenance in the quarter — Formosa Plastics Corp’s turnaround starting in mid-February for 25-26 days. ACN prices may follow feedstock propylene trend in 2019 given sufficient availability and relatively weak demand.
Downstream demand may not increase ahead of Lunar New Year holiday, which falls in early February. The manufacturers of finished goods may have longer holidays this year due to the slowing economy and lacklustre sales. Demand may gradually pick up after the holiday on the back of the restocking activities.
The European ACN market is likely to be better balanced in the first quarter of 2019 after a very volatile 2018. Product was tight through most of the year, which led to steady price increases and, in turn, encouraged buyers to cut their production rates. Some of these production cuts will continue into the start of 2019, which is expected to keep the market balanced.
Demand for ACN will depend largely on the performance of the downstream acrylic fibre (AF) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) markets. Demand for both applications dwindled in 2018. The AF market suffered on the back of competitively priced alternative products, while ABS was affected by a sharp decline in the European automobile industry. AF demand is likely to remain unchanged, while ABS demand could increase amid hopes that the automotive industry will pick up at the start of 2019.
Supply is expected to remain snug-to-balanced owing to lingering constraints from 2018 and incremental increases slated for 2019. Although the global turnaround schedule is lighter, Cornerstone Chemical Company will go on turnaround at its Fortier site in Louisiana for two to three weeks in the second half of March.
Demand in major downstream sectors such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylic fibres (AF) is likely to increase in the first quarter and grow in line with GDP growth, while more niche markets such as carbon fibres and acrylamide are expected to see significant growth.
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.
Acrylic acid-Acrylate esters
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