14 October 2011 19:09 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US fourth quarter Tampa sulphur contract price settled at $220/long tonne (€158/long tonne) delivered (DEL), representing a rollover from the third quarter price, market sources said on Friday.
The third quarter price was also a rollover from the second quarter, indicative of a balanced market.
Sulphur is a key raw material in the production of phosphate fertilizers, and positive fundamentals in that market have kept demand firm.
Several phosphate producers in the US have outstanding commitments to offshore markets, like India.
In addition, market sources said producers are preparing for stable demand from the domestic market for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, the availability of sulphur in the US has improved slightly because of increased refinery utilisation rates in the summer, which resulted in more sulphur being produced as an involuntary by-product, according to market sources.
For example, major US phosphates producer Mosaic received sulphur above contractual volumes from several producers, the company said.
But at the same time, refiners have been processing sweeter crude based on refinery economics, which has lower sulphur content.
These factors combined with strong demand from the buy side have resulted in a balanced market for much of the year.
($1 = €0.72)
By: Fiona Boyd
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