For the Quarter Ending March 2022
In the first quarter of 2022, the domestic market trend of Maleic Acid demonstrated a major increment in North America after the prices of its raw material (Benzene) skyrocketed in the second half of the quarter. Maleic Acid prices in North America rose by nearly 5-6% by Q1-end. The demand for Maleic Acid increased dramatically in the United States from the end-user businesses especially pharmaceutical industries. Higher feedstock, freight, and transportation prices have also aided the price trend of Maleic Acid in the US market, as the commodity is primarily imported from Asia. Some American importers struggled to meet demand in February, as stockpiles remained low and supply lines were stretched to accommodate unprecedented volumes of cargo, notably from China. Maleic Acid prices rose across the country as a result of prolonged port congestion and freight interruption. In terms of demand, offtakes in the food and beverage industry in the United States have remained stable due to enough supply that has matched downstream demand for the time being.
During the 1st quarter of 2022, the pricing trend of Maleic Acid showcased positive sentiments across the Asia Pacific region. Due to a spike in covid cases in China, some manufacturing units, were forced to close in last December to prevent the virus from spreading, resulting in higher feedstock Maleic Anhydride prices, which in turn affected the prices of Maleic Acid in the country. Chinese factories and ports were closed in H1 of 2022 the quarter as part of the government's zero-covid policy, further supporting the increased price trend of Maleic Acid, as its raw material, Benzene is majorly imported in China. Maleic Acid prices in South Asia were assessed in the range between 1140-1260/MT by the quarter ending March 2022.
The European market of Maleic Acid showcased a positive outlook in the first quarter of 2022 on the back of the increased demand from the end-user industries. Increasing demand for Maleic Acid from the pharmaceutical companies, is one of the main factors that drove the demand for Maleic Acid across the region. Manufacturers were forced to trade the product on quoted pricing due to still high freight and feedstock expenses, as well as high input costs due to the peaking energy crisis. Maleic Acid prices in Europe rose by nearly USD 100-150/MT in mid-Q1. The prices of shipping containers and scheduled delays between Asia–Europe also exacerbated Maleic Acid prices effectively in Europe.
For the quarter ending December 2021
The price trend showed fluctuations in the final quarter of 2021, as the prices of feed benzene dropped by 3%, although the feed prices increased by the end of December due to demand from various downstream industries amidst the new year holidays. The demand from downstream speciality chemical and paint sector from importing countries was stable throughout the quarter. Asian countries witnessed high demand in the month of October while European countries witnessed demand improvement in November. Considering the demand, the supply was kept moderate in Q4 in the American region.
In Asian Market, the demand from downstream pharmaceutical and speciality chemicals industries rose in the beginning of quarter. The demand was stagnant in Nov. and Dec month, while prices dropped at the end of December due to lower crude oil and LNG prices because of US strategic oil reserves. The prices of downstream fluctuated more in Chinese market because of unexpected demand from importing countries. However, Maleic Acid price trend in India fluctuated according to change in prices of feed Benzene.
Significant increase in the demand from downstream speciality chemicals and paint industries, led to an upward trend in the prices of Maleic Acid in the 4th Quarter. Feed Benzene prices rose around 12% since Q3 in the European market, transferring an increment of 8% in the downstream Maleic Anhydride prices. The freight charges also ran high in the past few months, which impacted Maleic Acid prices throughout the quarter. Higher energy use in non-commercial sector during winter month in European region caused energy crisis in Europe and production rates were curtailed which resulted in higher energy values and increased production cost of Maleic Acid.
For the Quarter Ending September 2021
In North America, Maleic Acid market experienced an upward rally during the third quarter of 2021. The Maleic Acid prices remained firm throughout the quarter backed by the tight supplies of upstream Maleic Anhydride and the robust demand from the downstream sectors. Moreover, in the mid of the quarter most of production plants along with oil and gas refineries and production facilities remained shut for around two weeks as a repercussion of Ida hurricane. It consequently impacted the supplies of upstream Benzene and led to the increment in the values of feedstock Maleic Anhydride. Hence, Maleic Acid prices shot up in this quarter supported by the feedstock pricing trend.
In the third quarter of 2021, Maleic Acid market sentiments remained high in the Asia Pacific market backed by the improvement in offtakes from the downstream industries. In India, a marginal rise in values of Maleic Acid was witnessed during this quarter. Several factors including supply chain disruption due to the congestion on the several ports of China coupled with spiraling freight contributed the hike in the price trend of Maleic Acid. However, by the end of the quarter adequate supplies of feedstock Maleic Anhydride kept the market dynamics stable despite of the high demand from the downstream pharmaceuticals. Besides, its sole domestic manufacturer was reported to be operating at optimum rates on cautiousness over mounting of inventories in times of its stable demand. In line with its market sentiments, Maleic Acid Non-Pharma Ex-Depot Chennai prices settled at USD 2657.06 per MT in September.
In Europe, a constant demand from downstream food industry kept the Maleic Acid prices in upward trajectory during the third quarter of 2021. Moreover, hike in the feedstock Maleic Anhydride values due to the delayed imports from North American and Asian countries also aided the price trend of the Maleic Acid in this timeframe. Besides, exorbitant freight charges across the Europe-US & Europe-Asia trade routes and shortage of shipping containers further contributed to the inflation in the values of Maleic Acid in this quarter.
For the Quarter Ending June 2021
During the second quarter of 2021, supplies were further constrained as the operations in several facilities was shunned as the production of feedstock Maleic Anhydride was subdued in the time period. Besides, extended lead times and better netbacks from the European region delayed the South Asian cargoes to the US. Demand surged from the downstream food industry and offtakes were consistent from the pharmaceutical sector, as a repercussion of tightness in the overall North American market. Thus, prices of Malic Acid remained in up stride during the second quarter of 2021.
Feeble offtakes of Maleic Anhydride in the Asia Pacific region from the downstream Unsaturated Polyether Resins (UPR) industry kept the feedstock inventories levelled up in the second quarter of 2021. Supplies remained sufficient to cope up with the end use demand with significant level of the inventories of Malic Acid, however due to the rising inflation prices of Malic Acid in China, prices observed a marginal uptrend with Ex-Work Nanjiang prices were settled at USD 2592 per tonne in June. Whereas the enquiries from the Indian market were stable as the offtakes from the food additives and pharmaceutical sector were consistent.
During the second quarter of 2021, supplies of Maleic Acid in the European market were extremely short during the first half of the quarter due to limited availability of the key feedstock Maleic Anhydride. However, the supplies improved slightly in the later half as the shipment from the USA improved along with the ramp up of production in a major Maleic Anhydride facility. Further it is anticipated that the supplies tightness is likely to continue till next quarter as a major producer declared a turnaround in June.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Maleic Acid market in the North American region was severely impacted during the first quarter of 2021, owing to the supply shortage as the domestic production remained hampered due to the extreme weather conditions in the Texas and nearby Gulf region. Extreme shortage of feedstock and power outages at several plant forced the Maleic Acid manufacturers to shut down the production. Shortage of feedstock Maleic Anhydride was reported with some Asian material flowing to the US but that too limited amidst weather related constraints.
During the first quarter of 2021, Asia Pacific Maleic Acid market witnessed mixed sentiments. The supplies were tight to balance due to the low inventory levels in the first half of the quarter amid ongoing turnaround in several regional plants. However, shortages eased by the end of the Q1 as several plants restarted with efficient throughput and inventories level replenished. Demand surged in the first quarter owing to better offtakes from the downstream automotive and construction sectors.
Supplies of the Maleic Acid remained tight since the previous quarter and augmented during the first quarter of 2021. Reduced imports from the USA, due to the production fallouts amid the severe weather conditions in February disrupted the transportation of raw material for. Demand strengthened from the downstream automobile and construction sector as the industries thrived to recover the loss incurred in COVID lockdown previous year.