Asia ACN falls for first time since mid-Jan; supply to stay tight

Author: Judith Wang


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


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