Gulf sulphuric acid prices down on sulphur decrease, ample supply

18 October 2013 18:53  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Prices for sulphuric acid spot tonnes decreased $5/tonne CFR (cost and freight) in the US Gulf, as assessed by ICIS on Friday.

Prices are at $35-45/tonne (€26-34/tonne) CFR in the Gulf, with little action in the market. The current level is down from $45-55/tonne in September and from $90-110/tonne in October last year.

While a drop was anticipated with fourth quarter sulphur contracts settling at $75 last week, sources had also reported several recent turnarounds in the market at Rhodia, DuPont, Chemtrade and Grupo, which some producers believed would tighten the market.

Participants have reported no problems finding product and buyers maintain their tanks are full. Two of the four Rhodia plants that were offline have completed their maintenance

Rio Tinto reported on Tuesday that production at Kennecott Utah Copper was recovering ahead of expectations. Some participants had said that uncertainty with the recovery efforts from the April landslide at Kennecott might tighten the market.

Given the comfortable supply position, import cargoes have to be priced very competitively to attract buyers in the Gulf. There is continued talk of cargoes being sold in the $30s/tonne CFR, while freight from Europe for an 18,000-tonne vessel is indicated in the low-$40s/tonne.

Sources say that while the long-term fundamentals of the market are sound, in the short-term prices may fall further due to an end-of-the-year slowdown in demand and product from turnarounds coming back online.

($1 = €0.74)

By: David Tonyan
+1 713 525 2653

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