Taking a closer look at
the Methacrylates markets
The methacrylate monomers team, which serves the EMEA region, is passionate about delivering added value to its customers and industry partners. To be effective in what we do requires us to continually invest time and energy into understanding the marketplace and its dynamics. Our local representatives in the field together with our world-class business systems and global presence mean we have the best possible access to reliable information to do just that.
Report by: Malcolm Kidd, Commercial Director for Methacrylate Monomers EMEA.
Supply chain challenges
During March and April this year, LI undertook the largest ever overhaul event to happen at its Cassel Site. This placed a significant challenge on many areas of the business; both in the EMEA region and within MCC globally. The first thing I would therefore like to do is to thank our customers and logistics services providers for working with us in the months preceding the event, as well as during it, to minimise the impact and maintain a stable supply. I’m pleased to say that the Cassel site has been back on line now for several months and is operating well. The benefits from the work done during the outage are now being realised.
During the first part of this year, the operation of MCC’s new JV MMA & pMMA assets in Saudi Arabia have been fully established and the MMA from the Alpha II operation (SAMAC) has been integrated into our EMEA supply chains, providing an increased level of robustness to the supply capability.
Global MMA supply capability
Global availability of MMA was limited at times during 2017 as the production side suffered unplanned outages. The nameplate capacity of MMA globally has been boosted in the last year however by new assets coming on line in both China and Saudi Arabia. Thus far this year, it can be seen that this new capacity has helped to compensate somewhat for the maintenance events that had already been scheduled, plus some further unplanned outages that have reduced production output from the existing asset base.
The consequence is that, in general, supply has balanced demand – at a global level at least. Although periodically each region has had its own “local” supply side dynamics and issues to contend with and respond to.
Influences on demand
Global demand for MMA continues to grow at a rate of +2-3% per annum and is estimated to be in excess of 3.7mmtes in 2018. Demand year to date in each region has been influenced not only by the prevailing conditions of the major economies there, but also by some very specific issues relating to legislation and trade policy.
As for the EMEA region thus far in 2018, MMA demand has been good but has been impacted by the general lower level of confi dence within the Eurozone. In addition, there have been instances of de-stocking within some industry segments which has sporadically impacted the demand profile in the first half of the year.
As per the other regions, the outlook for MMA demand growth is positive and there continues to be new and imaginative uses for methacrylates and their derivatives.