For the Quarter Ending June 2021
After prolonged shutdown of several plants in the Gulf of USA, production activities finally resumed during this quarter. As major producers like INEOS and Covestro lifted the force majeure from their ACN manufacturing units, the availability of Acrylonitrile (ACN) increased which consequently pushed down its prices. Although demand for ACN remained firm throughout the quarter, the improved supply activities narrowed the demand supply gap in USA and ultimately led to a decline in its prices in the country. Therefore, a sharp decline in price of Acrylonitrile was observed in this quarter, which settled down at USD 2110/MT in June.
In China, Acrylonitrile prices remained bullish throughout the quarter, as the demand from the global market was unexpectedly high. Despite of improvement in supply chain activities from USA, prices continued to rise in the latter half of the quarter, bolstered by high feedstock prices. In addition, shutdown of PetroChina Jilin’s unit with 452 KTPA capacity created shortage and exaggerated this upward price trajectory in late May. While in India, prices of Acrylonitrile reduced effectively in the same quarter, supported by negligible offtakes from the downstream manufacturers due to slowed market activities, in effect of latest pandemic restrictions in the country. Therefore, prices of Acrylonitrile hovered around INR 1814/MT and INR 2690/MT for China and India respectively during the first half of the quarter.
European Acrylonitrile market sentiments remained firm, as the demand from downstream ABS manufacturers showcased improvement throughout Q2. Manufacturers revealed that they tried to keep the production activities high to satisfy overall demand, but as the backlog deliveries were abundant, the supply on new orders was restrained. In addition, after maintenance turnarounds, INEOS Nitriles resumed their plants operations, further improved the overall availability during the second half of the quarter. Therefore, an effective rise in prices of Acrylonitrile was observed in H1 Q2, which gradually slowed down in effect of improved supply.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
North America region witnessed an extreme supply disruption due the rare climate calamity during February in much of the central US. The storm ruptured all kinds of production activities, production of feedstock Propylene was roadblocked by this freezing winter and downstream ABS production also experienced similar setbacks. Two major producers INEOS and Cornerstone shut their Texas based ACN plants, which impacted the overall availability of ACN across the region. Despite of low production activities across the region, demand for ACN remained firm from downstream sectors and accelerated when climate condition started getting normal. During this course of time, prices of ACN across the region hovered around USD 1850 per MT during March, showcasing a rise of 11.11% since January 2021.
Asian market witnessed faced challenges in the domestic demand in catering the demand for Acrylonitrile (ACN) due to reduced imports from US and Europe during Q1 2021. Chinese ABS manufacturer faced shortage of feedstock Acrylonitrile, as Chinese lunar year squeezed the inventories of the country in February, that eventually led to rise in FOB price of ACN by 2.32% in Lianyungang China. Meanwhile India which majorly depends upon the imports from US and Europe to satisfy the demand of CAN faced extreme shortage due to halted supplies. These conditions pushed the prices to go up by 8.79% within Q1 2021 in the Asian region.
Extremely tight supply for ACN forced several downstream ABS manufacturers to apply force majeure on their plants in Europe. Major European ACN manufacturing units like INEOS Nitriles in UK and Petkim in Turkey remained idled during this quarter, that directly affected the export potential of the region. Meanwhile the demand from Asian countries remained very high during this time period. Later in March, Petkim resumed their plant operations, that eventually provided relief to the downstream ABS manufacturers of Europe as well of Asia.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Several Asian Acrylonitrile producers faced supply issues amid efforts to improve their product margins which are still not up to a healthier level. Resilient demand from the downstream Acrylic fibers is likely to serve well in the upcoming quarter as the region eyes on strong demand for winter clothing October onwards. Q3 2020 market outlook seemed to improve with replenishing needs. Supply constraints are likely to prevail as major plant turnarounds are expected in the upcoming quarter with Acrylonitrile producers in Taiwan and China planning to shut their production units for maintenance issues.
Acrylonitrile demand in the third quarter saw a substantial QoQ gain, driven by strong ABS demand for the production of household appliances and air-conditioning units, which showed significant demand surge during the pandemic as many stayed at home under quarantine and practicing work from home. Demand from the automotive sector started to rebound towards the end of the quarter depicting a V-shaped recovery after the industry remained largely shut in the previous quarters because of the pandemic. Pricing graph was pushed upwards in August extending gains due to firming Propylene.
Acrylonitrile registered strong gains on quarterly basis with strengthening downstream market while a larger population stayed at home and hot weather in the region bolstered the demand for air-conditioners, refrigerators and other appliances. Supply constraints surfaced as the leading producer INEOS Nitriles announced maintenance turnaround at its larger production line in Germany for 3-4 weeks at the end of the third quarter. Balanced inventory levels have pushed the operating rates to 85% in Europe as producers sense the demand to head towards much needed recovery in the fourth quarter.