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Updated to Q3 2015
During the third quarter, sulphur prices came under considerable pressure, particularly for major importer China, where prices fell by up to 22%.
Weak downstream demand from the phosphates sector, coupled with the falling Chinese yuan and a sharp depreciation of the Indian rupee, as well as lingering concerns over the Chinese economy and falling crude values all contributed to the downward pressure. This also resulted in Middle East producers having to reduce their monthly prices.
Typically, when Middle East prices reach a certain level, Chinese buyers retreat to the sidelines. This creates a look of thin demand, resulting in Middle East exporters revising their monthly price intentions down, enticing the Chinese back to the market. However, in the past, the market has not been faced with such a mixed bag of negative variables.
Pressured by so much economic uncertainty, Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (Tasweeq) decreased its Qatar Sulphur Price (QSP) for September by $18/tonne, to $133/tonne FOB (free on board) Ras Laffan, while Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) set its official selling price (OSP) for September at $135/tonne FOB Ruwais, down by $20/tonne from August.
Saudi Aramco Trading then dropped its October price by $27/tonne to $123/tonne FOB Jubail.
The downward spiral in the value of sulphur was felt internationally.
In North Africa, the third-quarter contract price settled in the upper-$140s/tonne CFR (cost & freight), which marked a decrease of $4-5/tonne from the second quarter.
Prices in South America also dipped. Vale in Brazil purchased its third-quarter contract volumes in the mid-$140s/tonne CFR, down from the mid-$150s/tonne, while AFT/Fertinal in Mexico saw its offers dip from the low-$150s/tonne FOB Vancouver to the mid-$120s/tonne FOB Vancouver.
The Outlook series of reports is produced by ICIS in partnership with Integer Research. This combined expertise brings together an in-depth understanding of market drivers and pricing, as well as an analysis of market fundamentals such as supply and demand and profitability.
The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid Report includes the following for each commodity.
A summary of the key developments globally over the past month and a look at how the market might develop in the near future. This includes an analysis of price fluctuations and key drivers, plus a snapshot of the market drivers broken down by region for quick reference.
Rolling forecasts of key price assessments globally for the next 12 months. This reflects the current prices and expected price trends. Price forecasts and an analysis of the prices are given for each key region. Cost and profitability analyses (DAP margins) are also included.
The key global sources of each fertiliser commodity, with data broken down by key regions. Information on unsold availability from the main suppliers, inter-regional supply and demand flow, production news/updates, disruptions and future capacities are included.
The main potential markets and sources of demand for the year ahead. Detailed information is given on potential consuming regions, including purchased volumes, outstanding requirements and new demand sources.
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including The Outlook Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid. Our extensive experience in price reporting means we can offer you access to historical data dating back more than 20 years for certain commodities.
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