Sulphuric acid Prices, markets & analysis
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Sulphuric acid: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2015
The sulphuric acid market is balanced in Europe and the US, although some tightness is expected to be seen in Asia as a result of various planned turnarounds. Chile will continue to dominate the market in terms of being the major importer of sulphuric acid, followed by China. China, meanwhile, will remain the largest sulphur importer in the world, largely to burn for sulphuric acid for its downstream fertilizer demand.
According to the China Phosphate Fertilizer Industry Association, China’s sulphuric acid production in 2014 was estimated at 88 million tonnes, of which 40 million tonnes came from sulphur burners.
Sulphur consumption is estimated at close to 17 million tonnes in 2015, reflecting non-fertilizer usages, largely for industrial chemicals.
The European sulphuric acid market looks to be firmly balanced across the domestic market, despite concerns about the potential for a drop off in demand from the caprolactam industry because of weak macro economic conditions.
In the export market, sellers are in a “sold” position and appear to have no major concerns about surplus supply.
Brazil is expected to remain a key focus for European exporters, while Chile will continue to consume large volumes from Japan and South Korea.
However, as seen in 2014, volumes from Asia to South America are expected to ease because of improved local demand.
Chile will continue to import large volumes from Peru.
In 2014, Peru exported 96% of its total exports to Chile, while Peru accounted for 53% of Chile’s total imports, followed by Japan at 21% and South Korea at 12%. However, volumes were down by 40% and 46% year on year respectively during 2014.
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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.
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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.