Amino acid trading picks up, vitamin C prices moving upward

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/ipopba
© GettyImages/ipopba

Related tags lysine Vitamin C

Amino acid trading has picked up across the board and prices are much firmer than several weeks ago for threonine but also for lysine and tryptophan, reports Kemiex.

“Producers have started to pass on higher input prices and major factories have stopped selling on the spot for 4Q. 

“Meanwhile, Dl-Methionine is trading sideways with some upside risk since Evonik confirmed [during its quarterly investor call on November 3] that one of the Antwerp production facilities would be down for two to three weeks,” ​said Stefan Schmidinger, partner, Kemiex.

A spokesperson for Evonik told FeedNavigator today that its MetAMINO plant in Antwerp is operational.

In terms of lysine developments, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently confirmed the safety of a strain used by CJ CheilJedang, and the required authorization for EU import approval from the European Commission is expected within 5 to 12 weeks, reported the Swiss feed and food additives information and trading platform.

Increases in vitamin C prices

“For vitamins, we could not observe a major trend reversal. The big exception is vitamin C or ascorbic acid,” ​Schmidinger told us.

Vitamin C is used for a variety of applications in animal feed, human nutrition, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and others. By value, it accounts for around 5% of all vitamins used in feed and 50% in food, noted Kemiex.

“Four weeks ago, following a trade exhibition in China, some factories stopped offering, putting pressure on ex-China prices while Europe spot prices were still comfortable. Currently, the bulls and bears are in midst of their speculative games - and prices are increasing," ​said the market specialist. 

Some quarters anticipate that vitamin C prices could enter the range of US$7-11 in the coming weeks or months, said Kemiex.

“Bulls are arguing that reduced supply, partially related to lower capacity utilization in the upcoming heating season, as well as increased demand for dietary supplements against COVID-19, will push prices. However, bears would argue that regional inventories should be comfortably high, as 2020 has seen significant, above-average vitamin C imports to the US and Europe," ​added Schmidinger. 

Vitamin C import trends 

Between 2015 and 2019, global vitamin C imports saw growth rates of 4% per annum with the US, Germany and Netherlands at 2%, while Japan, Brazil, Spain, UK, Italy and others were at 5-8% annually, reports Kemiex.

Kemiex_Vitamin C_Largest importers 2019

Currency, freight charges 

Currency movements are also having an impact on global feed additives trading, with the US dollar weakening 7.3% against the Chinese Yuan and 8.5% against the Euro over the last six months, noted Kemiex.

Meanwhile, it highlighted that freight rates from Asia remain elevated as container shortage continues, demand from other sectors remain high and carriers report full utilization.

Pending projects 

The heating season approaches, and the provinces of Hebei, Jiangxi and others in China recently announced air pollution prevention and control measures in line with the Chinese government’s 'blue sky' policy introduced a few years ago, said Kemiex. “As every year, several production plants will operate at lower capacity and focus on selling off inventories.”

In other China-related developments, Kemiex reports that Huazhong Pharmaceutical was ordered by authorities to close its vitamin B1, B6 production, Zhejiang Garden has commissioned a new vitamin project in Jinxi Science and Technology Park, while Jiangxi Kexing Pharmaceutical is to start trial production for biotin and carotenoids in January 2021, and Xinfa Pharmaceutical has begun aldehyde production, while also announcing it is to accelerate several vitamin projects.

Beyond China, German chemical group, BASF, also recently announced an increase in prices for its formic acid and propionic acid products. 

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