LONDON (ICIS)--Sulphur benchmark spot prices for major importer China have nudged up following monthly price increases by Middle East exporters and the return of Chinese speculators, sources said on Friday.
“There seems to be more interest in China, but phosphates is still not strong enough to see sulphur prices firming by a significant amount. I heard $87/tonne CFR [cost & freight] was sold into Nantong,” commented a trader.
Speaking about recent price developments in China, a major Middle East producer said: “The market is healthy and sentiment is good. Prices are up because of speculative buying and there is short availability in the market.
“Another dip in inventories is because traders sitting on stocks at higher prices have started to buy so any potential losses have balanced out – when traders achieved their target they started to liquidate.
“They are now in the [black], not in the red anymore."
Chinese sulphur spot prices are assessed by ICIS at $76-87/tonne CFR China, while export prices out of the Middle East are valued at $74-77/tonne FOB (free on board) Middle East
The airing of price intentions for the fourth quarter was largely deemed rather premature by the majority of buyers and sellers. However, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) was heard to be seeking a number in the high-$70s/tonne FOB for Q4 contacts.
ADNOC set its official selling price (OSP) for September sulphur shipments to India at $77/tonne FOB Ruwais, a $7/tonne increase from August.