Asia acrylate markets beset by thin trades amid holidays

15 September 2016 06:43 Source:ICIS News

Sky lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot trading in Asia’s acrylic acid and acrylate esters markets has been generally thin this week, which is filled with holidays across the region, industry sources said on Thursday.

A limited number of players were active in both the northeast and southeast Asian markets.

Acrylic acid and acrylate esters prices were largely stable-to-firm this week in China, and largely stable in southeast Asia although butyl-acrylate prices fell.

On 14 September, glacial acrylic prices were assessed at $985/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) SE (southeast) Asia and $850/tonne CIF CMP (China Main Port), according to ICIS data.

Butyl acrylate prices stood at $975/tonne CIF SE Asia, and at $990/tonne CIF China Main Port, the data showed.

China is on holiday on 15-17 September for its Mid-Autumn Festival and South Korea is on its week-long Chuseok holidays, while most southeast Asian markets were closed for the Eid ul-Adha holidays at the start of the week.

Regional producers were offering cargoes, but end-users were not actively looking for spot volumes, market sources.

Demand may not pick up much in the coming weeks in southeast Asia. While there were some enquiries, they were not in urgent need of cargoes amid poor downstream demand, market sources said.

Industry sources said that the seasonal pick-up in demand towards the fourth quarter has yet to happen, exhibiting a lag in the timing compared with previous years.

In China, operating rates dipped slightly, with butyl acrylate plants running at an overall capacity of 55% and acrylic acid plants at 56%.

Some major producers had undertaken brief turnarounds and delayed restarts of their facilities after the G20 meetings.

Most petrochemical plants near Hangzhou City in Zhejiang province were required either to shut operations or reduce production before and during the G20 meeting held on 4-5 September.

Prices in the country have increased over the past month, as producers raised offers citing spikes in feedstock propylene values market sources said.

Propylene prices have been on an uptrend because of a supply shortage.

Actual demand for acrylic acid and acrylates in China, however, is being muted by the holidays this week and upcoming week-long National Day celebration on 1-7 October.

Focus article by Paul Lim

Asia acrylates 15 September 2016

Photo: Sky lanterns are traditionally released to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in China (Source: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock)

By Paul Lim