For the Quarter Ending June 2021
During Q2 2021, price of Acrylate Ester (Ethyl and Butyl) rose effectively across the North American region, backed by high demand from the downstream sectors. The price hike was driven by restricted supply of Acrylic Acid due to low availability of upstream Propylene. Prolonged disturbance in production activities since mid of February due devastating winter storm in the US Gulf Coast decreased the inventory levels of major upstream chemical producers, that led to a steep rise in Acrylate Ester prices. Strong demand from the downstream coatings, paints and adhesive manufacturers with the sharp economic rebound propped up the regional consumption.
The price of Acrylate Ester fluctuated in a narrow range, due to frequent changes in the demand patterns while the Asian industry faced global surge in the upstream Propylene prices. In China, prices rose effectively due to high demand from the downstream industries, amid rising consumption trends due to strong economic rebound. While in India, prices rose initially in April, and then later declined in May due to slowdown caused by the surge in COVID cases in the country. The second wave of the pandemic compelled the Indian government to impose restrictions in operations, that pulled down the demand from the paints and coatings sector. Thus, the price of Ethyl Acrylate and Butyl acrylate declined effectively and reached USD 1790/MT and USD 1380/MT respectively by the end of May in India.
The European Acrylate Ester industry faced similar market scenario like USA during this quarter, where the demand remained elevated in the midst of material scarcity. Due to lower imports from the USA and Asia, shortage of feedstock Acrylic Acid persisted throughout the quarter, while the demand remained consistently strong, which led its prices to rise effectively. In addition, high freight cost across Europe-USA and Europe-Asia trade route also intensified the overall price inflation for Ethyl Acrylate and Butyl Acrylate across the region.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Demand for Acrylate Esters across North America region remained strong during Q1 2021. Regional demand from the Acrylic coatings segment showed strong potential, although the supply remained critically ill after several major plant turnarounds. Under the extreme cold temperature, few of the major manufacturers declared force majeure on their site, as the conditions were not favourable to run their plant operations. Dow announced force majeure on its Texas based plant which produces Butyl Acrylate. This cold snap led the prices of Acrylate Esters to rise effectively from USD 2210 per MT to USD 2580 per MT during January-March timeframe.
Like the global market, where the Acrylate Esters prices were escalating due to fuming raw material prices, Asian market encountered similar scenario and witnessed reasonable price gain on Acrylate Esters. Both Acrylic Acid and Acrylate Esters prices rebounded sharply in Asian market, due to spike in raw material prices during Q1 2021. Prices of Butyl Acrylate in the Indian market rose by 3.31% and reached USD 1323 per MT during March, while prices of Ethyl Acrylate in Chinese market reached USD 2250 per MT in March after rising by 15% since January.
The European market witnessed domestic shortage of feedstock Acrylic Acid during this quarter. Like USA, winter season also affected the production activity in Europe. Several unplanned turnarounds took place due to chilling weather and disrupted transportation activity. Evonik and Radici were compelled to declare a force majeure on their Acrylic Acid plants, which reduced the availability of feedstock material across the regional.
The Asian Acrylate Ester market seemed to gain the lost momentum entering the third quarter due to seasonal restocking by the downstream paints and coatings sector which showed signs of rebound with improvement in the construction projects and home décor requirements. Showing resilience amidst surging coronavirus infections in economies like India, Japan and South Korea, the upswing in sentiments for Acrylate Esters (Ethyl and Butyl Acrylate) was buoyed by the much-needed festive push observed in several Asian economies. CIF India prices for Butyl Acrylate were rangebound between USD 950-1050 per MT while for Ethyl Acrylate, offers were raised to USD 1400-1500 per MT levels. Snug supply due to plant outages and shipment delays were observed as a key supplier in the Middle East opted to go for maintenance turnaround by the end of the quarter. Unclear about material sourcing, buyers sought cargoes from other Asian sources to cater to the peak demand season in India and China.
Europe’s Acrylates fundamentals continued to face the double-whammy of fresh lockdowns due to the second wave of COVID-19 and tightened supply on account of plant turnarounds across several Asian economies. Europe’s output growth for chemicals declined by 4.5% in Jan-Sep period compared to same period in 2019. Acrylate Ester margins remained compressed throughout Q3 with November contracts being agreed at a marked decrease, as buyers were unable to transfer the high cost due to supply constraints and firming feedstock value.
The American Acrylate Ester producers witnessed stable Q-o-Q growth amid disrupted economy and ample product supply demand. The regional buying interest seemed to improve by the mid of the quarter, especially from the construction coatings and packaging adhesives, with lengthened supply pressuring the regional rates. However, the sentiments for US Acrylates remained bolstered as the demand from the adhesives and architectural coatings showed an uptick. Pricing curve remained flattened, showing modest improvement in August due to firming Propylene. US Acrylates plant utilization levels rose to 70% from nearly 50% in the first quarter. While coronavirus restrictions eased early in the period, fears of a new wave of infections in the US kept some demand constraints and limited the Q3 growth. Major US Acrylates suppliers include Arkema, BASF, Dow Chemical and Sasol.