HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylonitrile (ACN) export spot prices fell to their lowest levels since May as Asia prices collapsed following a sharp drop in China's domestic market.
US spot ACN was assessed at $1,850-1,950/tonne FOB (free on board) from $1,950-2,000/tonne in the previous week.
Asia fell sharply as traders look to unload material in order to reduce inventories before the end of the year.
US prices are slower to fall than in Asia as producers are less concerned with selling spot material as they are in rebuilding inventories for the first quarter 2019.
Downstream, acrylic fibre (AF) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) demand continues to soften amid seasonal downturn and weak producer margins.
While AF and ABS demand continues to wane, demand for acrylamide (AA) remains unseasonably strong, with consumers looking for material to build up inventories.
Demand in the first quarter is expected to bounce back, compared to bearish demand in the fourth quarter.
Cornerstone confirmed it will enter turnaround at its Frontier, Louisiana plant in the second-half of March 2019.
Contract adder prices are slated to increase based on higher spot prices in 2018 and stronger demand expected in 2019.
Spot export ACN is expected to continue falling through the end of the year as downstream demand for AF and ABS continues to soften.
Major producers of US ACN include Ascend Performance Materials, Cornerstone Chemicals and INEOS Nitriles.