Acetic Acid: Acetic acid prices assessed stable week on week between Rs 36-36.5/kg while expected stable to low in coming days due to lower booking level and slow demand of the chemicals Current booking level of Acetic acid assessed at $460-465/mt down $10-15/mt week on week. Trading activity in the Asian acetic acid marker was subdued this week, with little spot discussion heard. Market sources said the usual post-Lunar New Year pickup in demand had yet to be seen fully this year and buying activity remained slow. Fanavaran Petrochemical Company’s 150,000 mt/year AA plant in Iran will restart Sunday after it was shut for planned maintenance last Friday, a company source said Friday. The company’s 1 million mt/year methanol plant will close March 10 for around 10 days for scheduled maintenance, the source added. Fanarvan’s petrochemical plant in Bandar Imam Khomeini has a capacity to produce 1 million mt/year of methanol, 150,000 mt/year of AA and 140,000 mt/year of carbon monoxide.
Acetic Acid Price in India
Acetic Acid: Acetic acid assessed between Rs 36-37/kg at major ports of India and expected
stable to bit up in coming days.
Some suppliers also quoted Rs 35/kg but trade not been done at this level as prices noticed firm
GNFC quoted its manufactured acetic acid at Rs 35/kg down from previous quotation by Rs
Current booking level of Acetic acid assessed at $450-455/mt assessed stable week on week as
International market showed stable to inched up trend.
International Market Updates:
Trading activity in the Asian acetic acid market was weak as trade participants slowly started
returning to the market. However, a number of traders saw the market stable to a little firmer
as methanol prices had risen by at least 10% since the start of the year, S&P Global CSG data
showed. “The inventory level of acetic acid in Asia is not very high and there is no pressure from
suppliers to push cargo,” a trader said. “At the same time, [purified terephthalic acid] demand
downstream is a little weak and will only come on after the Lunar New Year, so the AA market
is stable to a little firm,” he added.
The CFR Far East Asia and the Southeast Asia AA markers both rose $5/mt from last week to
$450/mt CFR, based on firmer market fundamentals. The FOB China price was assessed at
$409/mt Friday, up $8/mt on week, based on offers heard at $410-$420/mt FOB China. The CFR
South Asia marker was assessed at $445/mt CFR, based on firmer market fundamentals and
offers for March-arrival cargoes at $460-$470/mt CFR South Asia.
Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene prices on Wednesday rose by $3/mt to $675/mt FOB Korea, and was up $1/mt at $689/mt CFR Taiwan, amid a rise in downstream paraxylene prices. Bids for March FOB Korea cargoes appeared in the market against no offers, while the CFR Taiwan market remained quiet. A buy idea on CFR Taiwan basis was heard below $650/mt. Indications from the Chinese market also remained low compared to international prices, with the East China ex-tank price around Yuan 5,400/mt, or about $661/mt on an import-parity basis. In downstream markets, PX rose $4/mt day on day to $1,109/mt CFR Taiwan/China.
Isomer-MX was assessed up $3/mt day on day at $675/mt FOB Korea and up $1/mt at $689/mt CFR Taiwan on Wednesday. The markers take the average of the third and fourth half-month laycans, currently H1 March and H2 March. No bids or offers were registered during the S&P Global CSG Market on Close assessment process. During the MOC process, March-loading cargo was heard bid at $674/mt FOB Korea. Both H1 and H2-March laycans were assessed at $675/mt FOB Korea, above the bid. No bids or offers were heard during the MOC process on a CFR Taiwan basis. The CFR Taiwan price was assessed $1/mt higher, tracking the FOB Korea marker and rising prices in related markets. The above rationale applies to the following market data codes: PHAUV00 for FOB Korea and PHAUT00 for CFR Taiwan.
European styrene started the week with falls in the spot market following earlier buy interest. S&P Global CSG assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $992.50/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, down $1/mt on the day. Earlier in the day, trades were heard at $980/mt followed by $975/mt for February cargoes. A trade was also heard at $1,010/mt for March ahead of the anticipated styrene turnarounds set to begin at the end of the first quarter. Traders closely monitoring the market began discussions of arbitrage opportunities. “If we drop below Asia by $80 [to account for freight] then we will see exports,” a trader said. In Asia, Asian styrene monomer fell $13/mt from last Tuesday to $1,074/mt CFR China and $1,024/mt FOB Korea Tuesday. Discussion remained muted as participants began returning to the market after week-long Lunar New Year holidays. In the US, styrene demand remains soft and it was last assessed at $990/mt FOB USG.
S&P Global CSG assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $992.50/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, down $1/mt on the day. February was assessed at $976/mt, down $4/mt, $1 above the latest outstanding bid at $975/mt with the offer at $985/mt. Earlier in the day, a February cargo traded at $980/mt, followed by another at $975/mt. March was assessed at $1,009/mt, down $6/mt on the day, $1 below the latest outstanding offer at $1,010/mt and with the bid at $1,000/mt. Earlier in the day, a March cargo traded at $1,010/mt.
Solvent-grade mixed xylene was assessed $10/mt lower week on week on Friday at $610/mt FOB Korea on lower selling ideas, while demand — particularly from China — remained sluggish due to the Lunar New Year holidays. Many market participants were already absent from the market. Meanwhile, South Korean parcels were moving into Southeast Asia, where margins were better than China, market sources said. In plant news, Korea Petrochemical Industry Co. plans to shut its benzene-toluene-xylene plant in Onsan for about one month of maintenance in April, a market source said. The plant has the capacity to produce 180,000 mt/year of benzene, 70,000 mt/ year of toluene and 40,000 mt/year of solvent-grade mixed xylene. South Korea’s LG Chem is planning to shut its Daesan aromatics plant for 35 days of maintenance in March, a source close to the company said. The plant can produce 24,000 mt/year of solvent-grade mixed xylene, along with 264,000 mt/year of benzene and 54,000 mt/year of toluene. Maintenance at the plant will overlap with the turnaround at the upstream cracker, as previously reported by . MX inventories in eastern China were heard to be steady at around 61,000 mt. Rationale Solvent-MX was assessed down $10/mt week on week at $600/mt FOB Korea Friday on the back of lower discussions. A deal at $625/ mt FOB Korea was not considered in the assessment as the size was too small. Another producer said $590/mt FOB Northeast Asia might be a workable price, although similarly acknowledged it was not a firm offer. No bids or offers were heard during the Market on Close assessment process. The CFR China marker was assessed at $620/ mt, unchanged on thin trade and prevailing discussions. The Southeast Asia marker was assessed at $660/mt CFR, reflecting decreases in the broader market. The CFR India marker was assessed at $664/ mt, down $10/mt, based on the freight differential of $64/mt between Korea and India.
Asian acetic markets were steady this week, and had yet to catch up with upstream methanol markets, which have firmed over the past two weeks oversupply issues. A stronger Chinese yuan lent support to China’s domestic and FOB prices in the past month. As such, domestic prices this week were little changed from last week, at around Yuan 3,150/mt Friday, up Yuan 50/mt on week. The Chinese yuan has risen 3.3% since October on optimism that the US-China trade tensions will ease, and the two major economies could reach a trade deal soon. Meanwhile, demand for acetic acid across Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia was stable amid ample supplies. “We have to wait for real market direction after the Lunar New Year,” a trader said.
VAM: Upstream ethylene prices have firmed considerably over the past nine weeks, and ethylene-based vinyl acetate monomer producers were feeling the pinch to raise prices, trade sources said. The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene marker was assessed at $1,075/mt Friday, up $35/mt from Thursday, and was last higher at $1,090/mt CFR on October 19, data showed. Trade sources said they expect Asian VAM markets to become tighter after the Lunar New Year holidays, as producers prioritize shipments to Europe, as the first non-EU 350,000 mt imports enjoy tax concessions. RATIONALE: AA: The CFR Far East Asia and the Southeast Asia AA markers were both unchanged from last week at $445/mt CFR, based on stable market fundamentals. The FOB China price was up $2/mt at $401/mt, against buying indications hear around $395/mt FOB, and discussions at $400-$405/mt FOB. The CFR South Asia marker was assessed at $435/mt, unchanged from last Friday, against offers heard at $430-$440/mt CFR India. VAM: CFR China was assessed at $930/mt Friday, stable from last Friday, amid thin trading. The CFR Southeast Asia and CFR South Asia prices were unchanged week on week at $895/mt and $830/mt, respectively, amid stable market fundamentals.
Asian ethylene continued firming Friday, rising $10/mt day on day, buoyed by healthy spot demand in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays next week. On a week on week basis, spot prices rose $45/mt. Participants were completing last minute buying in the spot market this week, driven by firm demand from the styrene monomer sector where margins have been positive. This week, the Asian styrene monomer margin was hovering above $100/mt, in line with firmer spot styrene prices, according to data. Market sources said spot demand also emerged in China for ethylene-oxide following the recent EO capacity expansion there. Asian monoethylene glycol margins have been hovering at around minus $150-$180/mt this week, data showed. Looking forward, market sources said it was unclear if Asian ethylene would continue rising as margins for most ethylene derivatives were currently negative. Asian polyethylene ethylene margin was calculated at minus $45/mt Friday, much lower than a typical breakeven spread of plus $150/mt, according to data. Some market sources said integrated producers would start considering selling spot ethylene cargoes, reducing their downstream plant runs amid positive ethylene margins. The recent strength in Asian ethylene pushed up the ethylene-naphtha spread above $570/mt this week, the highest level since September 2018, data showed. The spread is higher than a breakeven spread of $350/mt. Rationale Spot prices rose $10/mt day on day to be assessed at $1,085/mt CFR Northeast Asia and $985/mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday. The tradable level was in the high-$1,000s/mt CFR Northeast Asia and high-$900s/ mt CFR Southeast Asia Friday. Rationale CFR China MEG price was assessed flat day on day at $625/mt on Friday for 15-30 days forward cargoes, reflecting a trade discussion heard at this level, and below an offer heard at $630/mt. China domestic price was assessed flat at Yuan 5,100/mt over the same period, reflecting tradable discussions heard at this level. CFR Southeast Asia MEG was assessed up $7/mt week on week at $630/mt on Friday, for 15-30 days forward cargoes, amid thin trade discussions, $5/mt higher than the CFR China marker.
Asian acetic prices were stable, if not a little firmer this week, with a few turnarounds planned in March and April, and producers have started stockpiling inventory. “There’s not a big change on the buyer’s side as the market heads into the Lunar New Year holidays,” a trader said. Trade sources said downstream purified terephthalic acid production was stable till the Lunar New Year, and acetic acid suppliers were not in a hurry to dump prices. “Buyers buy what they need … Many are covered already for the holiday period,” a second trader said. “Inventory for downstream is not high as people prefer to keep inventory low and have more cash in hand for the festive season. But buying activity should pick up after the Lunar New Year,” he added. Meanwhile, China’s Jiangsu Sopo’s No. 1 acetic acid plant with a capacity of 250,000 mt/year was heard to have reduced its operating rate last weekend, according to market sources. A company source said it was unclear if the reduced operating rates were due to a technical issue at the plant or something else, and did not know when it would return to normal operating rates, which was 90% of its capacity. VAM: Stable acetic acid prices this week were a good sign for the vinyl acetate monomer market, trade sources said this week. However, sentiment across Asia remained largely bearish as business had slowed with the impending Lunar Year holidays, they added. A producer said that ethylene prices were rising and there were concerns around higher costs. He added that they will be informing their customers about higher prices for February shipments to Southeast Asia and South Asia. Other producers said higher ethylene prices would affect VAM producers which use ethylene as a feedstock. A selling idea for ethylene-based VAM for end-February and March deliveries for Southeast Asia was heard at $920-$950/mt CFR. The CFR Northeast
Asia VAM marker was assessed at $1,040/mt Friday, up $40/mt from Thursday, and up $85/mt on week, Data showed. Still, a trader said demand for VAM was not expected to move much before the Lunar New Year holidays, and that buyers have probably “stocked up by now”. RATIONALE: AA: The CFR Far East Asia marker was assessed $5/mt higher week on week at $445/mt CFR Friday, tracking firmer FOB China prices. Discussions were heard around $440-$450/mt this week. Southeast Asia AA was assessed $5/mt higher over the same period at $445/mt CFR, tracking firmer prices in Far East Asia and China. The FOB China price was up $9/mt at $399/mt, against selling indications heard at $400-$410/mt FOB. The CFR South Asia marker was assessed at $435/mt, tracking firmer market fundamentals across regions. VAM: CFR China was assessed at $930/mt Friday, stable from last Friday, amid thin trading. The CFR Southeast Asia and CFR South Asia prices were unchanged week on week at $895/mt and $830/mt, respectively, amid stable market fundamentals.
Spot USG MTBE pricing slipped for the third consecutive session Friday amid sustained weakness in its Northwest European counterpart. With the premium to the FOB ARA marker unchanged at 10 cents, spot pricing followed Europe down 1.69 cents on the day. No activity was seen in the Platts Market on Close assessment process and spot trading activity was limited. Related energy was slightly stronger on the day, inching up 19 points to $1.3876/gal. Blended and shipped values were last estimated near 203 cents/gal while the MTBE factor relative to gasoline was at 1.1987. In other regions, the FOB Singapore marker was down $13/mt to $561/mt while the FOB ARA marker was 1.69 cents weaker at 156.44 cents/gal. RATIONALE: Spot USG MTBE was assessed Friday at 166.44 cents/gal FOB USG, down 1.69 cents on the day. The assessment was based on a 10-cent premium to ARA, where the netback was last talked.
Acetic acid went down in the Indian market at the beginning of this week and traded between Rs 49-50/kg on Tuesday but on Saturday market recovered and quotation of the material up by the suppliers between Rs 50.5-51/kg.
“Acetic acid prices dropped on higher suppliers’ inventories. Supply is ample with slow downstream demand amid falls in feedstock methanol prices and the weak macroeconomic situation”- the source said.
Indian manufacturer of AA GNFC also reduced their prices on import parity by Rs 2.54/kg to Rs 52.25/kg as on 14/11/2018.
Current booking level assessed between $620-630/mt CFR India down $10-20/mt from previous assessments.
Demand in the Asian acetic acid market was flat in the week to Thursday as high methanol prices and flat demand in the downstream purified terephthalic acid market weighed on buying interest.
“AA supply could tighten next year as the market moves to the traditional turnaround period every two years but this year, supply is mostly balanced to short,” a market source said on the sidelines of the IMPCA conference held in Singapore over November 7-8.
Meanwhile, in the Asian vinyl acetate monomer market, downstream ethylene-vinyl acetate for the solar panel industry was weakening and that dampened buying interest for VAM after the Chinese government imposed some restrictions, a market source said. But this could not be confirmed.
Moreover, upstream ethylene prices were softening and VAM buyers expected further cuts in VAM prices in the coming weeks. The CFR Northeast Asia ethylene price was stable week on week at $920/mt Thursday, though prices have fallen sharply in the past few weeks.