LONDON (ICIS)--North African third-quarter sulphur contract prices have rolled over from the second quarter in a $160-170/tonne CFR (cost and freight) price range, a major supplier to the region confirm on Monday.
“We just signed with OCP and GCT for regular contracts at a rollover,” the supplier said.
Regarding the third-quarter sulphur settlement with North African, the second largest importer of sulphur in the world, a trader said: “North Africa has rolled over, there was some discussion about an increase, but the North African’s are tough negotiators.”
Sulphur prices have come under some downward price pressure in the past week following the announcement by major Middle East exporters Saudi Aramco Trading that it will bring its September price down by $11/tonne.
In relation to its decision to reduce its September price, Saudi Aramco said: “We saw the situation in China – this was really the reason since all the end-users there were not willing to pay $190/tonne CFR (cost and freight).
“So we decided to ease up a little bit but not enough to hurt the market. Demand is still standing still, but we are hoping India and China will start to pick up.”
The price decision by Saudi Aramco Trading was welcomed by market followers, describing the move as “representative” and “responsible”.
Demand for sulphur has not been as strong as expected, but many sources are optimistic that business will start to pick-up ahead of the rabi season in India and domestic fertilizer demand in China.
Rabi crops refer to agricultural crops sown in the winter and harvested in the spring and are grown between the months of November and April. The rabi season starts with the onset of north-east monsoon in October.
The domestic season for downstream fertilizers in China starts mid-October.
According to IFA (International Fertilizer Industry Association) China imported a total of 10.2m tonnes of sulphur in 2013, while Morocco in North Africa imported 3.3m tonnes, followed by the US at 2.2 million tonnes. The Middle East exported close to 9m tonnes of sulphur in 2013, IFA statistics suggest.