China acrylates halt eight-week slide but may not rebound soon

13 April 2017 07:10 Source:ICIS News

Container port at Qingdao, China

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s domestic acrylate prices have halted their eight-week slide, showing signs of stabilising, but any market rebound may not happen soon.

In the week ended 12 April, Chinese domestic prices were stable from the previous week at yuan (CNY) 8,000-8,100/tonne for butyl acrylate; and at CNY9,300-9,500/tonne for 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate.

Only glacial acrylic acid continued on a steep fall, dropping CNY100-300/tonne over the same period to CNY 6,700-6,800/tonne, according to ICIS data.

Spot enquiries remained thin in Asia as market participants were still largely on the sidelines, waiting for a clearer price trend to emerge before stepping back into the market, industry sources said.

While the upstream crude oil market was bullish, they failed to buoy up the acrylic acid and acrylate ester prices, which could be nearing trough but may not have the momentum for a firm rebound, industry sources said.

End-users continued to stay away from purchasing spot volumes, and were bidding at lower prices, citing excess supply in the market.

Buying interests only surface when sellers indicate willingness to offload cargoes at lower prices.

Regional spot prices may find support in the third quarter, as supply will be reduced when a major acrylate esters facility in Singapore shuts down for maintenance.

Japan’s Toagosei is shutting down its facility on Jurong Island in Singapore for a scheduled maintenance in the July-August period, in line with the turnaround at its upstream acrylic acid facility.

In the near term, however, supply in Asia will improve as Tasnee Sahara Olefins Co plans to restart its acrylic acid and acrylate esters facility in Saudi Arabia from early May.

Its volumes are still being offered in the Asian spot market as it has sufficient inventories in its storage tanks.

In China, operating rates were at 69% for butyl acrylate plants and at 62% for acrylic acid plants. Domestic producers continued to offer export spot cargoes to southeast Asia and India in attempts to exploit arbitrage opportunities.

Focus article by Paul Lim

Asia acrylates 13 April

($1 = CNY6.89)

Picture (top): Port of Qingdao in China (Source: REX/Shutterstock)

By Paul Lim