Quarterly Update on Global Aniline Market
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
The North American market suffered a rare cold snap that kneeled the production activities across Texas. Prolonged shortage of feedstock chemicals including Aniline since Q4 2020 got another boost after this extreme weather disruption, that supported its average prices and led it to rise by 8.75% within the quarter, taking it to USD 1400 per MT levels by March end. Most of the downstream MDI manufacturing plants were shut down during this period due to weather conditions, like Covestro announced force majeure on its MDI plant, similarly to other manufacturing unit based in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, that reduced the demand of Aniline across the region and prevented the prices from further acceleration.
The Asian market witnessed a stable demand from domestic downstream sector, amidst shortage of feedstock chemicals. Prices of Aniline increased aggressively in Chinese market due to lower inventory level after Lunar holidays and firm demand from downstream MDI and ink manufacturers, which led to rise in average FOB prices by 64% within the quarter and settled down at USD 2013.34 per MT till March end. Similarly, in the Indian market shortage of Benzene and lack of Chinese supply led the prices to rise by 5.8% from January to March, backed by improved crude oil values.
Firm demand from the downstream MDI manufacturers amidst critical shortage of the feedstock chemicals, pushed the prices to follow upward trend during Q1 2021. Insufficient supply from the US gulf coast to the global market forced European manufacturers to increase their exports to other continents like Asia. Although the trade route congestion and high freight cost supported the prices of Aniline to rise effectively across the region.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
The Asia Pacific Aniline demand surpassed its Q2 quarter levels as strong demand for MDI served as the key contributing factor for improved margins. The Chinese Aniline plant operating levels have been high, driven by increased buying sentiments right from mid-June onwards, which however, is yet to regain strength up to the pre-pandemic levels. Strong recovery in PU foams sector which is used in the furniture and appliances is predicted with many Southeast Asian producers ramping up production feeling the festive push. Indian Aniline demand from the pharmaceutical industry remained high throughout the quarter with several market players receiving shipment orders from the US.
The Aniline market remained pressured in the third quarter as the second wave of COVID-19 wreaked havoc in the Europe Union. The demand for Aniline from the downstream automotive and construction sectors remained muted as the economy continued to grapple with the economic downturn. The pricing curve maintained grounds as there were several reports of downstream MDI plant turnarounds in the region, further pressing the demand side. Production outages at several automotive factories further crimped the Aniline consumption. The quarter ended with the news of Borsod Chem starting production at its new 200 KTPA aniline plant in Hungary during Q3 FY21.
Regional Aniline demand witnessed a sharp rebound with strong uptick in PU demand from the automotive and construction sector which remained in doldrums during the second quarter as the nation continued strictest coronavirus-related restrictions on economic activity. The end-use markets reported supply tightness due to logistic disruptions and plant closures in several US provinces caused by the Hurricane Laura. Aniline consumption by the manufacturers of methylene diphenyl diisocycanate (MDI) showed sharp recovery with better sales figures reported from sectors such as consumer durables and home appliances.