SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s acrylonitrile (ACN) prices fell for the first time since mid-January, weighed down by weak performance of downstream markets, even as supply is expected to remain limited due to ongoing and upcoming plant turnarounds.ACN is used in the production of synthetic fibres for clothing and home furnishings, engineering plastics and elastomers.(Photo by Mark Syke/View/REX/Shutterstock)
In the week ended 31 May, spot ACN prices dropped by $50-70/tonne from the previous week to $1,950-2,000/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia, according to ICIS.
Several downstream acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) producers in Asia have cut their operating rates by 10-20% due to squeezed margins caused by high feedstock cost.
“We will cut [our] operating rate by 20% from June,” a South Korean ABS producer said.
Producers in another key downstream acrylic fibre (AF) market in China have also reduced their output, hurting from eroded margins due to high ACN prices.
Overall demand is expected to stay weak amid an economic slowdown in the key China market and the ongoing US-China trade war.
Limited supply due to scheduled shutdowns of regional plants should continue to support market.
Asia ACN Shutdown Schedule
|Company||Location||Capacity (tonnes/year)||Shutdown dates|
|Asahi Kasei||Mizushima, Japan||200,000||35 days from 24 May|
|Tongsuh Petrochem||Ulsan, South Korea||245, 000 (No 4 unit)||October (one month)|
|Taekwang Industrial||Ulsan, South Korea||290,000||25 days from 22 September|
|PTT Asahi Chemical||Map Ta Phut, Thailand||200,000||35 days from 9 May|
|Anqing Petrochem||Anqing, China||210,000||10-28 October|
|Jilin Petrochemical||Jilin, China||452,000||No 1 unit shut from 3-6 June; No 3 and No 4 units to be shut on 17 June-10 July|
|Shandong Haili Chemical||Zibo, China||130,000||3 March; no restart date (steam pipeline issue)|
|Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical||Shanghai, China||130,000||Five days from 3 June|
|Fushun Petrochemical||Fushun, China||92,000||15-20 days in June|
In the US, INEOS’ Green Lake plant, which used to supply to Asia has remained shut.
“I don’t think prices will drop too much because of several plant shutdowns ongoing. Spot availability remains limited,” a regional trader said.
Focus article by Judith Wang