Quarterly Update on Global Acetonitrile Market
For the Quarter Ending June 2021
After the reeling impact of the winter storm Uri, the industrial infrastructure in the US Gulf Coast (USGC) showed recovery. Steam cracker, propane dehydrogenation (PDH), metathesis and refinery operation rates improved ensure sufficient availability of feedstock Propylene to produce Acetonitrile. Hence, the production of Acetonitrile improved in the North American region during the second quarter. Mass vaccination program throughout the region boosted the economic and commercial activities throughout the region, thereby supporting the demand from the downstream pharmaceutical and solvent industries, hence the overall demand market outlook was firm. Consequently, the pricing trend observed a constant downfall throughout the quarter with FOB Texas discussions settling at USD 1510 per tonne showing a decrement of USD 100 per tonne from the prices in Q1 ending.
Demand of China’s pharma grade Acetonitrile peaked by the mid of the second quarter as the enquiries registered strong gains from India with the country facing devastating second wave of COVID, hence the offtakes from the pharmaceutical sector in Southeast Asia remained high. Whereas in China, the production rates were curtailed due to the rising inflation on the raw material front. Offtakes by the Chinese traders were usually on demand due to lacklustre export enquiries. As a result, the prices of Acetonitrile in the Chinese domestic market observed a steep downtrend with FOB Dalian prices settling around USD 3597 per tonne in mid-June, at a decrement of 18.55% from the prices in previous quarter.
The supplies of Acetonitrile in the European market recovered as imports from the US improved after observing severe tightness in the previous quarter. However, some supply constraints took long to normalise as manufacturers reported depleted inventories, further supported by longer than awaited turnaround at INEOS nitriles facility. As shipping freight to the region surged enormously, the overall regional supply demand outlook remained in doldrums. Overall demand remained firm from the downstream pharmaceutical and solvent industries.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Supplies of Acetonitrile in North America decreased amid disruption in supply chains during the first quarter of 2021. Downfall in the production of Propylene affected the overall plant operating rates in the region. INEOS and Ascend announced temporary shutdowns at their Texas facility in mid-February as the severe freeze weather condition hampered production activity in the US Gulf region. Demand increased as downstream industries ramped up the production to balance the rebounding demand across the end-use sectors, supported by the recovering economic activities as vaccination roll out progressed.Cornerstone is expected to announce declare force majeure in April following mechanical issue and raw material shortage that has reduced the production rates since mid-March.
During the Q1 2021, Acetonitrile supplies to the Asia Pacific region showcases mixed sentiments, owning to the turnaround in Taiwan's Formosa Plastic Corp and Sinopec plant in Anqing China. The supply crises were extended by the delays in the deep-sea cargoes from the US and Europe. Shandong Haili plant postponed its restart; however regional suppliers operated at the maximum efficiency to cover up the supply gap in the first quarter. Demand remained balanced due to improvement in the offtakes from the downstream sector. FOB Shanghai prices of Acetonitrile for the April deliveries settled at USD 4150 per tonne.
The European regional Acetonitrile market witnessed extreme tightness on the supplies as the Turkey's Petkim, a major production plant in the Mediterranean region and INEOS Nitrile facility in Germany remained shut throughout the quarter. The affected imports from the USA due to bad weather conditions further exacerbated the tightness in the regional market. Demand surged as the offtakes from the downstream pharmaceutical sector gradually improved.
For the Quarter Ending December 2020
Asia pacific is the largest producer of Acetonitrile, holding more than 50% of the total market share in terms of production and leading in terms of consumption. The regional supply remained tight due to planned and unplanned turnarounds and reduction in the supply from the northeast Asian region in October. Tight supply and robust demand drove the product realizations in India with the elevation likely to sustain even in Q1 2021. Firming raw material further triggered an upward push in the pricing curve which was averaged around USD 4650 per tonne for pharma-grade Acetonitrile in India.
The Q4 turned out to be largely tight in terms of Acetonitrile supply as major pharmaceuticals industries across Europe faced shortage in the graded Acetonitrile supply, while the agrochemical sector sought supplies from the overseas to deal with the material shortage. The quarter observed unexpected turnarounds by major Acetonitrile producers in response to the second lockdown imposed due to new COVID variant. Sentiments were bolstered towards the end of the quarter as the news of construction of Nouryon and INEOS nitriles’ new Acrylonitrile and Acetonitrile unit in Germany is in its final construction phase and is expected to be fully operational in FY 2021-2022.
The supply of Acetonitrile in the Americas remained tight as major players announced turnaround during the first half of the 4th quarter, while some key players announced force majeures triggering low production of upstream Acrylonitrile which led to decrement into the production of Acetonitrile. Buyers turned active for the procurement of product, but persistent tightness made it tough to strike bulk deals. Buoyant demand and firming upstream rates increased the price of Acetonitrile across the US market. Some petrochemical producers turned optimistic after Joe Biden emerged victorious from the US presidential elections which escalated the expectations of several industrialists regarding smoothening of US-China relationship and bilateral trade.