Sulphur Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Sulphur market, whether you buy or sell Sulphur or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the news and analysis that put the market into focus, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
Sulphur Overview Transcript
Sulphur is an important raw material and has gained a lot of attention from commodity traders in recent years.
Our ICIS sulphur report is published weekly, and it provides market players accurate and timely information on the latest sulphur trades across the world.
Our quotes include the Free On Board or FOB prices out of two of the largest sulphur producing regions: Canada and the Middle East. On a weekly basis we also assess the cost and freight or CFR prices in major import markets including China, north Africa and the US.
Over 90% of sulphur is used for the production of sulphuric acid for fertilizer production and industrial uses. We follow closely the movement of these price drivers.
We also strive to deliver news on the upstream market to our subscribers by drawing upon our resources in London, Houston, Shanghai and Singapore
A tight-to-balanced sulphur market will bring price above historical terms and we expect prices to remain volatile in the coming years.
This weekly report is backed up by a solid methodology, and will provide our subscribers the necessary information needed for their business decisions.
How we can help
Sulphur news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Sulphur analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Sulphur marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Sulphur
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Sulphur
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News & analysis
News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Sulphur
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Sulphur: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2014
The sulphur market looks set to remain in a balanced position, particularly if demand from the phosphate fertilizer market fails to improve following a slow start to the export tax window that opened 16 May. Middle East producers describe their stock positions as very low because of domestic commitments and contractual obligations to North Africa, and remain bullish.
The phosphates market will remain a key feature as OCP in Morocco is expected to commission the first new 1m tonne/year phosphate unit at Jorf Lasfar, which is expected to increase sulphur consumption.
Supply remains an important factor since it is unclear when the Kashagan project in Kazakhstan will restart. Estimates that this may not occur until 2015 have since been revised to 2016. In addition, the current scheduling for the UAE’s Shah Gas project for a start-up in Q1 2015 remains to be seen, following the project delays seen so far this year.
Low rainfalls in India so far during the monsoon season will also play a key role in determining the strength of demand and price opportunities for feedstock sulphur into phosphate fertilizers. If the low rainfalls continues, this in turn will result in weak demand for fertilizers in India.
In the US, prices are expected to roll over for Q3. Strong demand from Brazil should keep the well-supplied US Gulf market balanced to firm. Prices are expected to increase in California with strong demand from China and Latin America.
In Canada, increased availability from Syncrude should lengthen the market, which is also seeing renewed demand from China. Prices are expected to rise on international demand.
News & analysis
Sulphur news & analysis
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Sulphur, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
Sulphur is used in fertilizers, normally in the form of ammonium sulphate, where there is a deficiency of sulphur in the soil.
Sulphur is also used to make sulphuric acid from sulphur dioxide. Sulphur dioxide is used to make dyes and as a bleaching agent.
Sulphur has a pale yellow appearance and has a slight odour of rotten egg. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in carbon disulphide.
It is found in meteorites, volcanoes, hot springs, and as galena, gypsum, Epsom salts and barite. It is also a minor constituent of fats, body fluids and skeletal minerals.
There are two key sources of processing sulphur. The first is the Frasch process, where sulphur is extracted from underground without mining it.
In the Frasch process, underground deposits of sulphur are forced to the surface using superheated water and steam (to melt the sulphur) and compressed air. This gives molten sulphur, which is allowed to cool in large basins. Purity can reach 99.5%. The process is energy intense.
Another source of sulphur is as a by-product of processing crude oil and natural gas, which contain hydrogen sulphide. It is produced in crush lump, flake and prilled form.
Key industrial uses of sulphur includes production of black gunpowder, asphalt, vulcanisation of natural rubber, as a fungicide and as a fumigant, use in the bleaching of dried fruits and for paper products.