The ICIS Hydrochloric Acid report covers both the European and US markets and is published on a weekly basis. Both regions focus on pricing assessments for technical grade material.
Our locally based reporters analyse market news and intelligence to compile a report containing overviews, related product updates, production schedules, economic news and graphs. This is a valuable tool for you to use to support your commercial decision-making.
Updated to Q4 2019
European hydrochloric acid (HCl) supply was lower in the fourth quarter of 2019 because of trends in related industries. The majority of HCl in Europe is produced as a byproduct of the chloralkali and chlorvinyl industry. Because of weak demand and low prices for products such as caustic soda and isocyanates, capacity utilisation in those industries was lower in the fourth quarter and production of HCl was also reduced as a result.
HCl demand was lower in the fourth quarter of 2019 because of both seasonal and economic trends. HCl demand is driven by trends in the wider economy and industry, with the European outlook uncertain in the second half of 2019. In addition, business activity was lower in the second half of Q4 because of the winter holidays, and HCl buyers aimed to reduce stock positions before the end of the year.
Supply of US hydrochloric acid (HCl) fell only slightly during the fourth quarter amid a market already grappling with a long supply overhang. Scheduled plant maintenance among producers of acid as a by-product joined a slight reduction of production from on-purpose acid burners to notch output lower. But supply remained structurally long amid weak demand from the oilfield and some industrial users of acid.
Low oil prices reduced drilling activity in the US through the quarter and reduced demand for acid for use in the hydraulic fracturing process. Additionally, seasonal demand for water treatment fell off as winter approached and demand for swimming pools fell off sharply. Demand for food production, particularly for high-fructose corn syrup, steel pickling and chemical processing held relatively stable during the quarter.
We offer the following regional Hydrochloric acid analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Hydrochloric acid marketplace.
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News & market analysis specifically relating to Hydrochloric acid
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Hydrochloric Acid Methodology
Hydrochloric acid (HCl) can be produced in two ways, either by burning chlorine (burner grade) to produce semi-conductor or top of the range chemically pure strengths or as a by-product of various chlor-alkali processes.
Hydrochloric acid can be manufactured by direct synthesis where hydrogen and chlorine are reacted in a burner to produce hydrogen chloride. However, much hydrochloric acid is produced as a by-product of other processes such as vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), chlorinated methanes and ethanes, and fluorocarbons.
Applications for hydrochloric acid include steel manufacture where is used as a pickling agent, food manufacture in the canning process, and brick cleaning and concrete etching. It is also used in pulp and paper, chemical and water treatment, the electronics industry and pharmaceuticals. Domestic uses include many household cleaning products.
Hydrochloric acid presents a number of hazards as it is corrosive and can cause serious burns to skin and eyes. Personal protective equipment should always be worn when handling hydrochloric acid.
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It has been a tough period for chlor-alkali producers as recent months showed a sharp downturn in margins for caustic soda. This scenario threatens to bring to an end the period of strong margins, despite some signs of a limited rebound earlier in Q4 2019. Across all major markets, calculated margins based on the co-production of caustic soda and ethylene dichloride (EDC) have weakened substantially since October 2018.
Like many others, if you are looking for ways to unveil answers to key industry questions then come and join us at the 24th World Chlor-alkali Conference organised by ICIS and Tecnon Orbichem. This 1.5 day event has been a home for key industry players in the value chain, having welcomed hundreds of delegates each year. Take a first look at the key offerings in 2020.