Acrylic acid markets continued to face supply problems during 2017, notably in the US on the back of disruption caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Fortunately, the US market was able to get back on its feet comparatively quickly, and ended the year in a better supply position, but also with stronger than forecast demand, which looks set to continue into early 2018. The European market has also suffered supply tightness which came about following planned and unplanned stoppages and problems in supply relating to the US situation in August/September.
Some acrylate markets have been through very tight periods, especially during the fourth quarter. In Asia, for most of 2017, the acrylic acid market was relatively stable, with little fluctuation in prices. At the same time, market movements were more dramatic in China. The Chinese market went down and then firmed before coming back down again in quarter four. During this period, AA operating rates in China were estimated at about 65%. Chinese BA exports declined significantly in the second half of 2017.
After a year of interesting developments and margin recovery in many of the global acrylic acid and acrylate esters markets, what can we expect to see in 2018?
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