Sulphuric acid Prices, markets & analysis
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Sulphuric acid: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2014
In Europe, the market is tight because of healthy domestic demand, resulting in limited surplus availability for the international market, largely Chile, Brazil and north Africa. Demand from all three regions is expected to been seen again in the months ahead, particularly in north Africa, as Morocco’s OCP expands its phosphate production. In Chile, it remains unclear just how much material it will need outside fixed contracts, although most exporters believe that buyers will start to appear again. Meanwhile in Brazil, the fertilizer season is over and not a great deal of demand is expected. No outages are planned.
In Asia, a more upbeat sentiment from producers looks likely to continue, with the market moving from oversupplied to more balanced. The market is expected to tighten further towards the end of the quarter, with maintenance being carried out at Japanese smelters. India will remain a key destination for spot tonnes, with producers in South Korea and the Philippines well-positioned to catch the market on an upward trend.
The north American sulphuric acid market is expected to tighten through the end of the year, with planned outages at each major producer and a two month outage at Kennecott. Demand is expected to weaken through the end of the year, but any spot purchases are expected to be at an increase as producers have raised prices.
Contract pricing is expected to increase from last year, when the range was $85-135/short ton CFR (cost & freight), but quarterly pricing for the fourth quarter is expected to stay close to the third-quarter range of $110-145/short ton CFR.
US Gulf spot import prices are expected to increase slightly to the mid-$70s/tonne CFR from their current level of $70-73/tonne CFR on a balanced European market and strong demand from Brazil and Chile making tonnes more difficult to come by.
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Sulphuric acid 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 Sulphuric acid, 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.
Sulphuric Acid Methodology
About Sulphuric acid
A key use of sulphuric acid is for the production of fertilizers. Other uses include the production of carbon disulphide, sulphur dioxide and phosphorous pentasulphide; pulp and paper; and rubber vulcanising. Sulphuric acid can also be used in its diluted form as battery acid for the automotive sector.
Sulphuric acid is colourless in appearance and of an oily liquid consistency. It is both corrosive and toxic and has the ability to cause serious burns. In addition, it is harmful through inhalation, ingestion and through skin contact.