Zoom on the prices of lysine, methionine and vitamins

Other food additives under significant sales pressure are vitamin A, inositol – but it was falling from record lows – and pure vitamin C, according to Kemiex’s latest outlook.

For vitamin A, a rather unstable and complex product to manufacture, market participants are wondering if prices have bottomed out, or if there is still room for them to fall further, said Stefan Schmidinger, Head of Markets and Strategy at Kemiex. publication.

China’s vitamin A export levels to Germany rebounded in June, with similar increases in demand seen for such shipments to Denmark, Mexico and the United Kingdom, according to the data reading.

Kemiex also saw an interesting increase in imports into Brazil of vitamin E from China, as well as continued strength in terms of sales of the vitamin in the Netherlands, but German demand for this product weakened in June. , after six months of significant flows.

Interestingly, European producers reportedly offered better terms on vitamin B5 prices than the two main Chinese suppliers, the trade and procurement specialists said.

Returning to amino acid price trends, Evonik announced today that it is increasing MetAMINO prices by $0.35/kg in Latin America, following a similar move in China three weeks ago.

A few days ago, a fire broke out at the CJ CheilJedang methionine factory in Kerteh, Malaysia, which was extinguished by more than 60 firefighters within hours. The company is currently conducting inspections to investigate property damage and the cause of the fire, but so far has not issued any force majeure notifications. In previous years, CJ exported around 130-150 thousand tons per year.

Vitamin A production

On the capacity side, BASF, like us reportedearlier this month announced that it would expand its vitamin A formulation plant in Ludwigshafen, with start-up expected in mid-2023. This follows its vitamin A acetate upgrade in 2021 to a design capacity of 3,800 tonnes per year.

And DSM announced a technological breakthrough​ this month, the one that allows it to test the market for the first biosourced vitamin A, starting with its cosmetics division.

Chinese company Garden Biotech also recently announced progress on its planned installation of 6,000 tonnes of vitamin A per year; it has expansion projects planned for other products as well, namely a 20,000 t/y vitamin E 50% plant, a 5,000 t/y vitamin B6 site (3,000 t/y of food grade) and 200 t/a of biotin (60 t/a pure, 7,000 t/a feed 2%) unit.

Lysine trade flows

In order to ensure an adequate supply of certain agricultural and industrial products, the EU has recently established updated import tariff quotas. For lysine, the quota for H2 2022 was recently set at 122,500 tonnes, of which around 80,000 tonnes remain, according to the Swiss firm’s market outlook.

For threonine, the annual quota of 166,000 tonnes shows a balance of around 43,100 tonnes for the rest of the year.

Kemiex also looked at global lysine trade flows, noting that the EU has imported less of this amino acid from China and Indonesia so far in 2022, with Korea benefiting.

In the first half of 2022, China’s lysine exports to the world hit a record 530,000 tonnes, the Zurich-based company added.

Logistic challenges

Catching up with current transportation challenges, Kemiex noted that global supply chains are under pressure due to strike threats, in line with averted action by railroad workers in the United States earlier in July, and the real shutdown occurred in various regions.

In northern Europe, German dockworkers rejected employers’ offers and staged a two-day strike earlier this month at the country’s North Sea ports. In Peru last week, truckers went on an indefinite strike to protest rising fuel prices and the violation of government agreements. Nationwide roadblocks and protests hampered transportation in Ecuador and Panama in June, and high levels of congestion, construction density and low labor availability are keeping port productivity up at a low level in most European ports.

Meanwhile, freight rates continue to decline or hold steady, and individual containers from China are available within a comfortable two-week lead time. However, costs remain at a multiple of pre-COVID-19 levels, the Kemiex spokesperson said.

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