Europe acrylates fundamentals balanced, but Russia supply restrictions during FIFA World Cup possible

Source: ICIS News

2018/05/23

FIFA

LONDON (ICIS)--European acrylates supply is likely to stay balanced with demand through the summer, provided there are no prolonged delays to plant maintenance restarts, unplanned outages or lengthy disruption to logistics.

However, it is understood that some sea terminals in Russia will suspend operations of cargoes containing hazardous chemicals, as a security measure during the FIFA World Cup, which is taking place in June-July.

Market sources have mentioned potential restrictions to Russian imports and exports, as well as to land haulage, and a possibility that these could coincide with the planned maintenance at Gazprom.

These restrictions are most likely from 25 May to 25 July. Gazprom’s turnaround is scheduled to end in mid-June.

It remains to be seen what impact the restrictions might have on general acrylates availability during the higher demand period; coatings demand for acrylate esters has the potential to improve slightly in June.

There is little likelihood for a strong or pronounced uptick in underlying demand, unless the global force majeure on vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) generates new demand for butyl acrylate (butyl-A) as a substitute.

Acrylic acid (AA) demand should remain steady overall for the next month, with demand from the superabsorbent polymer (SAP) and water treatment sectors in particular quite stable.

Buying interest for spot volumes is limited and largely expected to stay in the coming weeks.

In production news, Nippon Shokubai is bringing a 100,000 tonne/year AA plant on line at Antwerp, Belgium, in May, along with an SAP plant of the same capacity.

Planned maintenance has recently taken place at Synthomer’s Sokolov plant in the Czech Republic and Dow is in the middle of a two-month turnaround at Boehlen, Germany.

Spring demand has not been as strong as it has been in previous years, with buying interest dampened somewhat by poor performance in the building and construction sector, and colder and wetter weather across Europe than is usual.

Acrylic acid is used as a raw material to make SAP for the manufacture of disposable diapers, surgical pads and other personal care items.

Acrylate esters are used to make paints, coatings, textiles, adhesives, polishes and plastics. They include methyl acrylate (methyl-A), ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A), butyl-A and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA).

Pictured: Aerial view of stadium facilities built for the FIFA World Cup in Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Source: Alexei Druzhinin/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Focus article by Helena Strathearn

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