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 2020
European HCl supply was significantly restricted because of upstream production problems. Production at BASF and Covestro was disrupted due to force majeure declarations on upstream isocyanates which began in Q3 and persisted into Q4. Availability outside Northwest Europe was also affected, with increased volumes exported from Iberia to cover deficits in supply elsewhere.
European HCl demand was stable to firm in Q4, with consumption rising in some markets as the outlook for the automotive industry improved. As a result, consumption of HCl in some metalworking applications increased. Market sources did not see any significant impact on consumption from rising coronavirus cases and localised lockdowns late in Q4, with demand also increasing relative to the summer lull in Q3.
Weak demand for chlorine and caustic soda during the quarter reduced overall chlor-alkali output. Additionally, weak demand and values for HCl dissuaded chlorine producers from allocating volumes to HCl production. That reduced output was joined by unplanned outages and planned maintenance turnarounds among producers of acid as a byproduct. These combined factors reduced overall acid output and, overall, reduced volumes in the HCl supply chain.
Demand for HCl has ticked slowly higher during the fourth quarter. After collapsing in the second quarter, demand for steel pickling has returned to near normal levels. Demand from the oilfield, where acid is used in the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has slowly begun to rise after dropping to a low point in July and August. Still, drilling and well completions number just a fraction of their levels this time last year. Demand into the chemical processing sector also remained down.
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.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Hydrochloric acid
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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.