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Modest Upturn in US Acetonitrile Prices Amidst Disruptions in Supply
Modest Upturn in US Acetonitrile Prices Amidst Disruptions in Supply

Modest Upturn in US Acetonitrile Prices Amidst Disruptions in Supply

  • 19-Dec-2023 5:51 PM
  • Journalist: Nicholas Seifield

In the North American region, particularly the United States, Acetonitrile, a crucial solvent, and chemical intermediate used in various sectors, experienced a steady increase in November. This upward trend is expected to continue as the year concludes in December 2023, driven by factors such as high inflationary pressures and fuel price hikes leading to supply chain disruptions.

The indispensable role of Acetonitrile in pharmaceutical processes makes it challenging to substitute with readily available alternatives, contributing to an inelastic demand that stabilizes prices despite cost increases, including feedstock prices. The pharmaceutical industry's resilience, marked by continued drug development and production, sustains a consistent demand for Acetonitrile in the sector. While downstream production remains stable across the region, the market observes a steady upward trend, with downstream merchants intending to sell their previous months' stockpiles of Acetonitrile.

Moreover, the ongoing global supply chain woes, caused by port congestion, container shortages, and logistical challenges have increased transportation costs and lead times. This can result in delays in deliveries, requiring manufacturers to hold onto Acetonitrile inventory for longer, which also incurs additional costs that might be passed on to consumers. In anticipation of potential supply chain disruptions or price fluctuations, some pharmaceutical companies have engaged in strategic stockpiling of Acetonitrile during the previous months. This further has maintained stable demand for Acetonitrile even in November.

Supporting to this, although natural gas and petroleum derivatives are considered as a common feedstock in Acetonitrile production, surging cost of feedstock Ammonia across the region have further supported this positive demand shift of Acetonitrile across the region.  As The number of containers imported into the United States fell from October 2023 to November 2023, with the biggest drops occurring in East and Gulf Coast ports, such as the Port of New Orleans and Tampa, which are located around Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States. Although the overall volume of container imports was lower than in October, a number of factors contributed to traffic jams and delays, which made feedstock—such as ammonia—unavailable for businesses and consumers alike. This further kept the price of Acetonitrile high for the duration of the month.

However, the volume of US containers imported into ports along the East and Gulf Coasts has decreased, clearly indicating the effects of the Panamanian drought. This situation may escalate as the Panama Canal Authority intends to decrease daily transit slots in the upcoming months. Descartes' latest logistics metrics update for December indicates a decline aligning with seasonal import trends in accessibility of Feedstock, suggesting a stall in global supply chain performance improvements for downstream sectors further.

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