The global sulphuric acid markets are covered weekly by ICIS in The Market. The Market gives you the global view on the fertilizer market, and is tailored for the international fertilizers business. The commentary includes supply and demand trends, production news, shipping enquiries, fertilizer prices and price drivers and fluctuations.
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Updated to Q1 2019
Japanese, South Korean, and Chinese sulphuric acid producers locked much of their Q1 capacity into contracts, leading to a lack of spot material that frequently left traders frustrated. The Asian spot market was sluggish for much of Q1 2019, with some expectation that players are waiting to convene at an industry conference in Shanghai, before making any significant moves.
Downstream sulphuric acid demand was notably lacking in China in the first quarter. That said, there were enquiries heard from southeast Asia – although little spot material was available to meet demand. South Korean and Japanese producers focused almost entirely on intra-group, domestic, or local regional sales, most of which was contract volumes. Upcoming maintenances in China in Q2 may yet support some increased demand, however, as availability tightens.
European sulphuric acid producers focused almost exclusively on contract shipments in Q1 2019, with very little spot material seen transacting on the open market. Intra-group trades were commonplace, and domestic markets well-supplied.
Sulphuric acid players discussed no notable increase in demand in Q1 2019, with producers’ contracted volumes meeting their needs for the most part. Spot demand was lacking – a plus for producers, who had barely any spot material to trade.
Supply in the US of sulphuric acid was depleted during the first quarter, owing to a 45-day turnaround at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott operations in Utah. Low sulphur inventories also likely contributed to sulphur burners running at lower rates and producing less sulphuric acid.
Within the US, demand was mixed since Rio Tinto’s Kennecott turnaround caused some buyers to look for product from different sources. Generally it was a slow quarter in terms of activity or anything out of the ordinary. Any additional import demand would have been quelled by low availability in Europe.
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Sulphuric acid is a strong mineral acid with a wide range of uses in industry. Pure sulphuric acid is a colourless, viscous liquid that can cause severe burns and serious eye and skin damage, and is therefore classified as corrosive or hazardous.
A key use of sulphuric acid is for the production of fertilizers. Other uses include the production of carbon disulphide, sulphur dioxide and phosphorous pentasulphide; pulp and paper; and rubber vulcanising. Sulphuric acid can also be used in its diluted form as battery acid for the automotive sector.
Sulphuric acid is colourless in appearance and of an oily liquid consistency. It is both corrosive and toxic and has the ability to cause serious burns. In addition, it is harmful through inhalation, ingestion and through skin contact.
LONDON (ICIS)--Indian fertilizer producer IFFCO has confirmed it has purchased two sulphuric acid cargoes from China’s Southeast Copper - a subsidiary of metals major Chinalco - via international...Read
TORONTO (ICIS)--SNC-Lavalin on Tuesday responded to analysts' warning of problems "piling up" for the Canadian chemicals and energy engineer after a client cancelled a big contract for sulphuric...Read