For the Quarter Ending June 2021
Post the disruptions caused by the winter storm Uri in the US gulf coast region, several plants ended their prolonged turnaround, thereby easing the availability of upstream Acrylonitrile (ACN) in the domestic market. The supplies of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) in the North American market improved compared to the previous quarter. The ease in tightness of ASF narrowed the demand supply gap and eventually decline the prices of ASF in the regional market. Demand was firm from the textile industries. Some buyers were heard procuring large orders to replenish their inventory levels before the upcoming Hurricane season in the next quarter.
After the Lunar New Year holidays, the Chinese Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) market was catalysed by the restocking sentiments to the pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, the plant operating rates at the spinners increased amidst the improved overseas demand which kept the regional market outlook firm throughout April. Whereas the Indian buyers showcased a strong wait and see approach for a larger part of Q2 as the second wave of the pandemic restricted the market activities. Pricing trend in China showcased mixed results as in the first half prices witnessed an uptrend while later declined pace with FOB Shanghai prices assessed at USD 2190 per tonne in June.
ASF supplies in the European region improved compared to the previous quarter as the upstream Acrylonitrile availability eased. However, some supply-side constraints were still observed as the suppliers exerted to clear the backlog of orders. Manufacturers took a sigh of relief after INEOS Nitriles restarted the production after the turnaround, further supported by the improved imports from the USA pushed the overall market outlook upwards. Demand remains firms from the downstream textile sector.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
During the first quarter of 2021, ASF supplies were tight amidst the lack of upstream propylene which further led to restricted availability of the key feedstock Acrylic Acid as the sub-zero temperature conditions caused by the Arctic winter storm hit the USA Gulf region in mid-February that forced curtailed production levels. Demand was strong on the back of short supplies as the enquiries improved from the downstream textile sectors. Tight Acrylonitrile (ACN) supplies and firming raw material rates supported an enormous uptrend in ASF pricing with the lack of spot ASF availability increasing the competition among suppliers.
Acrylic fiber supplies in the region were balanced during the first quarter of 2021, as the commissioning of the new cracker in China provided ample amount of upstream product, however some constraints were witnessed due to Chinese lunar new year holidays. However, post Lunar New Year restocking catalyzed the market sentiments to pre-pandemic levels with operating rates of the spinners increased amidst stable-to-firm export demand. The Indian textile industry opted for surge in the import duties on Acrylic Staple Fiber from China to promote the “Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign”. Demand from the downstream sector surged as the seasonal offtakes from the downstream textile sector improved further supported by the construction sector. the quarterly average prices in southeast Asian market of Acrylic Staple fiber are around USD 1955/ton.
The supplies were constrained in the European region during the Q1 2021, as the INEOS nitriles ACN facility in the Dormagen (Germany) was on a turnaround which further curtailed the supplies of key feedstock to the Dralon fibers. The regional crackers were operating at low efficiency which disrupted the upstream supplies amid strict lockdown across Europe due to resurgence in coronavirus cases. The demand from the textile industry improved amid the peak winter season and strong apparel retail demand.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Market fundamentals of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) were hindered in the quarter ending September 2020 due to its low demand across Asia. Small scale and medium scale manufacturers had to halt the production in Q3 due to low demand and consequently low prices. In China, turnaround in Shandong Haili Petrochemical ASF plant that was shut in March, was extended till next year under fears of prevailing demand uncertainties. However, big industries continued to produce the product in small quantities as per the spot demand. Following consistent decline in the demand for feedstock Acrylonitrile, prices of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) also decreased across Asia. As per industry experts, demand for the product is expected to recover in Q4 with active push in its seasonal demand from apparel industry.
Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) demand was observed to be stable with low price margins in Q1 and Q2. The demand of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) is usually high due to long winter seasons in North America but due to extended lockdowns, the production of apparels was slowed and eventually came to a standstill by mid-July. Prices of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) in Q3 were high due to appreciable demand for yarns and fibers. With the ease in lockdown by quarter end, supply of product across the region resumed as several manufacturers came onstream after a prolonged turnaround. Since major manufacturers have started the full-fledged production of the product and as the prices of raw material appear stable, market fundamentals of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) are expected to gain stability by the next quarter.
In the third quarter of 2020, prices of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) were high due to low production levels and fragile economic conditions in the region. Even though Europe is one of the major consumers of the product, the demand did not regain its original levels as compared to Q3 2019. With the extension of lockdown and increasing number of Covid-19 cases, the government had to issue guidelines to halt the activities that led to decreased supply of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF). In Q4, the demand of Acrylic Staple Fiber (ASF) is expected to increase with the rise in prices of raw material, Acrylonitrile.