01 November 2013 16:42 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Reports of planned and unplanned shutdowns across Europe are causing significant tightness to the hydrochloric acid (HCl) market, particularly for higher quality grades, sources said on Friday.
Tightness is said to have gripped the market for the past few weeks, though largely localised to Germany, Switzerland and Benelux.
However, now confirmed and unconfirmed reports of strike action in France and Belgium as well as unplanned shutdowns have significantly tightened the market across the rest of northern Europe.
Furthermore, an unconfirmed report of a shutdown in Italy is said to have spread tightness across southern Europe as well.
A French producer said: “Supply will remain tight for a long time, at least for November.”
Some market sources have indicated that the supply disruption could continue into December, due to reports of planned maintenance in France and England and strike action in Belgium.
The tightness in HCl supply comes just ahead of negotiations for 2014 contracts, which are usually held in November and December.
This tightness could add weight to the argument for price increases in 2014, some producers have said.
Another French producer said: “We expect a price increase," adding it is ridiculous to think the price will decline. It said the argument for a price increase is supported by rising transport costs and potential tax increases.
A UK distributor noted that recent energy price increases could also support price rises for 2014 contracts.
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