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 Q1 2021
European HCl supply decreased on the back of lower production upstream. Several planned and unplanned isocyanate shutdowns took place which limited HCl output as it created as a byproduct. In addition, chlorine molecules were diverted from isocyanate production to PVC because of record prices.
HCl demand was for the most part stable in Q1. Demand for some applications was reduced following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, such as metallurgy and paper production. Most industries are expected to recover in 2021 although a full return to normalcy is unlikely before the end of the year.
Supply of US HCl, already diminished from low chlor-alkali operating rates from Q4 2020, was slashed by the outages caused by a February deep freeze in Texas and Louisiana that caused widespread power outages and shut down plants unexpectedly, causing plant damage. Chlor-alkali plants and plants of producers of acid as a byproduct were also affected. The production losses firm acid prices in several parts of the country, most acutely in the US southeast.
Demand for US HCl was largely flat during the quarter, with demand from oil and gas drilling activity and steel pickling both slowly recovering from the demand trough caused by coronavirus lockdowns during the second quarter of 2020. Drilling activity is less than half of its previous level of early 2020, though steel demand has largely returned, though still about 7-8% below its pre-coronavirus level. The storm also slowed industrial and drilling activity, thus keeping Q1 demand flat.
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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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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