HOUSTON (ICIS)--August sulphur production increased 4% from last year in western Canada, as assessed by ICIS on Friday.
Sulphur production in August was 467,000 tonnes, up from 449,000 tonnes in August 2012. Production through August 2013 totalled 3.7m tonnes, in line with 3.7 m through August a year ago.
Total August production from gas plants in western Canada was 260,000 tonnes, in line with last month and up 9% from August 2012. Alberta oil sands processing produced 180,000 tonnes, up 3% month on month but down 1% from August 2012. Other production totalled 27,000 tonnes.
Not all production data is available for September and October, but results for gas plants in Alberta showed 198,000 tonnes of sulphur produced in October, up 8% from the same month in 2012.
The production has stayed in line with last year despite the global sulphur price collapse in July 2013, when the Vancouver sulphur contract price range as assessed by ICIS fell to $52-70/tonne (€38-51/tonne) FOB (free on board) in the third quarter from $145-155/tonne in the second quarter.
The international sulphur market has tightened in recent weeks, with the Vancouver spot price at $90-100/tonne FOB as assessed by ICIS from $60-65/tonne last month. The rise has been caused by limited supply in the Middle East, a pickup in demand and continued speculative activity.
While most market players expect prices will drop back down due to weakness in the downstream phosphate market, North American market participants have become more bullish in recent weeks and some see the market strengthening in 2014.
($1 = €0.73)