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 Q3 2019
European hydrochloric acid (HCl) became tighter in the third quarter as a result of planned and unplanned turnarounds in related industries such as isocyantes. In addition, the weaker European economy has reduced demand in connected industries such as monochloracetic acid (MCA) and sulphate of potash, which resulted in lower production of HCl as a by-product. Iberian saw a countervailing trend in the second half of the third quarter with supply increasing as producers pushed additional volumes into the market.
European hydrochloric acid (HCl) demand was weaker as a result of the poor economic outlook impacting downstream industries. The European economy was weaker in the second half of 2019 because of factors such as higher trade tension, the UK’s upcoming exit from the European Union and the poor state of the global automobile market. This was more than counterbalanced by the lower supply, with the majority of markets in Europe tighter from the previous quarter.
The US hydrochloric acid market remained amply supplied during the third quarter in line with demand. On-purpose burners have reduced output as demand from the oilfield subsided on lower oil prices. Output from by-product acid from producers of flourocarbons for coolants were at peak output and distributors jostled for market share on lower prices. Prices descended gradually through the quarter.
Demand from the oilfield continued to trend lower with low oil prices removing economic incentive to drill. Acid demand from hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract oil and natural gas has become the largest end-use segment for the US HCl market. Demand for other purposes, including steel pickling, chemical processing, water treatment, cleaning products and others remained steady.
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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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