25 January 2013 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European hydrochloric acid (HCl) prices have decreased by €5-10/tonne ($7-13/tonne) for 2013 because of healthy availability and steady-to-soft demand, sources said on Friday.
Contract settlements were reported at rollovers, slight increases and small decreases of up to €15/tonne, depending on starting point, but the average settlement was indicated down by €5-10/tonne.
European HCl suppliers had been targeting increases because of higher transport costs being implemented across Europe in 2013 and expected tight supply, following the closure of Zachem's 75,000 tonne/year toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) unit in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in the second half of December 2012. Producers had also tried to increase costs to improve margins.
Transport costs in Europe have increased by 2-4% since the beginning of the year.
However, supply is long because of healthy upstream production rates and average, steady demand.
Sources said the bulk of business that had been taking place in Germany was now at €70-80/tonne FD (free delivered).
Belgian prices were now at €80-120/tonne FD.
Meanwhile, prices in the Mediterranean are at €60-90/tonne FD and prices in northern France are in the €90-120/tonne FD range.
The outlook for the year is largely steady, although there are concerns regarding offtake from the automotive and construction sectors, given poor macroeconomic conditions.
HCl can either be produced by burning chlorine or as a by-product of various chlor-alkali and fluorocarbon processes and potassium sulphate production.
($1 = 0.75)
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