The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid monthly report forms part of the comprehensive and trustworthy coverage of the Fertilizer markets. The unbiased news and analysis includes sections on market overview, key drivers, regional updates, supply and demand outlooks as well as forecasts and any other factors driving prices. If you are involved with these or related markets, this independent and essential business tool can help you to make crucial strategic decisions. Integer Research produces the Outlook reports on behalf of ICIS.
How we can help
The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid
Track historical price data
News & analysis
News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2016
Sulphur prices remain under pressure moving into the second quarter, despite getting a minor boost from higher crude oil and commodity prices at the close of Q1. However, a backdrop of poor downstream demand and uncertainty surrounding the wider fertilizer sector continues to weigh heavily on sentiment.
The direction of international sulphur price is difficult to determine since so much depends on whether downstream markets pick up following a poor start to 2016. The weather too remains a big question mark for the global fertilizer community, especially in India. The poor economic climate in Brazil and server droughts in parts of Africa will also have in influencing factor for the wider sulphur sector.
How the metals markets will perform during the second quarter is also unclear, but demand for major chemical derivative caprolactam (capro) looks to be improving in the near term, particularly in Europe and Asia.
Updated to Q2 2016
Negative FOB values continue to persist in the global sulphuric acid market, as Asia struggles to balance its inventories heading into the second quarter. European suppliers are slightly more balanced with a series of turnarounds helping to ease the supply situation.
However, length is expected to remain a feature in the market in May and June following the completion of turnarounds.
In the Asia Pacific region smelters have received deep negative netbacks on a number of spot cargoes due to unexpected higher volumes from within the smelters, competition in the region from new capacity and weak demand from the former key market of Chile.
Buyer OCP in Morocco continues to absorb large volumes of European acid and is expected to continue being an outlet for length from various other markets.
In North America, buyers are taking advantage of competitively priced volumes and are expected to keep buying, with the US one of the few regions to increase its acid imports during the past year.
News & analysis
The Outlook Sulphur and 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 Ammonia, 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.
The Outlook Methodology
About The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid
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.
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.