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Insight | Time: Jun 23 2021 10:00AM
China's acrylonitrile imports dip below 10,000 tons again in May, 2021
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China's acrylonitrile import volumes decline below 10,000 tons again in May, 2021 since the March, 2020, to be 8,700 tons, down 74% from the same period of last year, and down 58% from April 2021.


The reasons for the decline: 1. There were plant maintenance in Japan and South Korea since mid-March (South Korea Tongsuh Petrochemical's 265kta unit and 200kta Mizushima acrylonitrile plant in Japan), and the maintenance last till mid-June, so the volumes in May were limited. 2. China's ACN plant operating rate has been high benefited from the gradual release of the capacity (Zhejiang Petrochemical's Phase I unit kept running at a high level since the start-up in June 2020) and the continual high profits since the beginning of 2021.


3. Downstream acrylic fiber and AM plant operating rate was not high, especially acrylic fiber, its operating rate was obviously low, triggering the adjustment in supply and demand. Based on high feedstock costs and high inventory, acrylic fiber operating rate declined to a yearly low since April 2021, and the obvious differences with the high ACN operating rate led to the selling pressure of ACN.



4. High imported ACN prices. Ineos' 300,000 mt/year Cologne facility declared force majeure in December 2020, and later, affected by the cold snap in the United States, Ineos' unit in the U.S., Cornerstone and Ascend were shut down, leading to supply tightness and high ACN prices. Though prices fell down somewhat after the units restarted, the prices were hard to fall down to the low level, and price spread with China鈥檚 ACN was obvious.


China ACN imports by origin in May, 2021
Regions  Volume (kg) Value ($)
South Korea 3554397 8,993,049
Taiwan China 3100000 7,142,400
Japan 2001230 5,804,996
Total 8655627 21,940,445

China ACN imports by origin in May, 2020
Regions  Volume (kg) Value ($)
Japan 14114752 11,790,998
Taiwan China 9112202 8,180,815
South Korea 9000436 8,225,309
Thailand 1500318 1,543,688
Netherlands 3 450
Total 33727711 29,741,260

Compared with the same period of last year, the imports reduced in terms of import origins and volumes. Compared with March 2020, the same point is under the pattern of increasing supply and weak demand, but the different point is the price spread between imported and Chinese ACN. In March 2020, imported ACN has price edge, but under the pandemic situation, the downstream buyers are not active to purchase, while in May 2021, Chinese ACN has price edge and downstream buyers have obvious purchasing direction. 

[RISK DISCLAIMER] All opinions, news, analysis, prices or other information contained on this report is provided by analyst of Zhejiang Huarui Information Consulting Co., Ltd (CCFGroup) as general market commentary and does not constitute investment advice. CCFGroup will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.
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