Spot prices for some vitamins and amino acids are turning lower to reach pre-COVID levels

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/ipopba
© GettyImages/ipopba

Related tags: Amino acids, Vitamins

Kemiex says it is the time of the year where patience is needed and where some players are willing to sell low to book a deal.

Kemiex this month was named as one of 10 Swiss deeptech startups that were selected for the Venture Leaders China program organized by Swissnex, VentureLab, ETH Zurich, EPFL and other institutions. Those startups will get the chance to engage with Chinese investors to pitch their ideas and raise funds.

Markets are seasonally showing lower volumes, after a strong first half, as orders are underway and demand is limited, according to data from the Swiss trading platform.

Prices might stabilize and find direction as soon as buying picks up again after summer, said the feed additives and API market intelligence service.

“Some producers are performing routine maintenance or factory relocations. In general, [we see a] summer sale mentality as some traders are clearing inventories and are willing to offer low to book a deal,”​ Stefan Schmidinger, partner, Kemiex​, told us.

New L-Lysine strains approved in EU 

Another feed additive market development this month highlighted by Schmidinger includes the new L-Lysine strains approved for sale in Europe.

On July 9, the EU Commission approved the use of L-lysine according to regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 of 22 September 2003. The newly approved strains are used by Eppen Biotech and ADM. 

The official EC L-Lysine strains approval regulation can be read here​.

The approval for L-Threonine from Fufeng Group is expected soon. 

Tracking vitamin, amino acid price trends

In terms of vitamin B5 activity, Kemiex reported that Anhui Tiger Biotech Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China BBCA Group Corporation, is tackling big two producers with competitive prices not seen since April 2019, stoking a market share game.

Recent average prices for vitamin B5 were between US$20 and US$28, but some newer offers came in as low as US$13-17 (FOB, Xinfa) as the market leaders accept the challenge, reported Kemiex.

Looking at vitamin C market trends, the trading platform noted that prices are returning from a recent break-out to US$5 amid significant buyer volumes during COVID-19.

“As major producers are in full production, supply appears sufficient. Pre-COVID prices of below US$3.50 are realistic as long as mono-producers are actively offering.”

Biotin prices are down from previous highs with two new producers in the market, but still comfortably and significantly above historic levels, noted Kemiex.

Evaluating vitamin A price movements, the analysts reported that, in June, BASF reportedly failed to deliver vitamin A and AD3 from older contracts amid known issues with citral, which Kemiex reckons will not get resolved before Q4 2020.

BASF manufacturing accounts for 45% of the global supply of citral, an essential precursor in the manufacture of vitamin A and E.

Two Chinese companies are planning to produce citral to reduce such dependency on a key starting material for those vitamins, said the Switzerland based platform.

The vitamin A price decline has stopped for a moment, said Kemiex, adding that producer, Zhejiang NHU, is carrying out maintenance for 60 days.

Further direction on that particular vitamin is expected from Q3, said the analysts.

Vitamin D3 has seen spiking prices in 2020 due to Covid-19 and other regulatory and production developments. Now prices for that vitamin are returning to previous levels driven by weaker demand, reported Kemiex.

Vitamin B1 continues to stay low as full capacity does not match limited market demand.

There is potential short-term support for that vitamin as a key manufacturer is in maintenance for two months, said the Kemiex team.  

Regarding amino acid trends, L-Valine, Tryptophan and DL-M are moving lower, while Lysine and Threonine are comparably stable, said the Zurich based market specialists.

“In a few cases we've seen aggressive bids and limited willingness to buy. After the summer, we expect more direction for the broader market as the demand picture will get clearer.” 

Kemiex vitamin index july 2020
The Kemiex Vitamin Index tracks the price development of 14 equally weighted vitamins. The Kemiex Amino Acids Index tracks four amino acids used in the feed sector. The Kemiex API Index tracks five APIs used in the pharma/vet sector. © Kemiex

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