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 Q4 2019
Asian spot export sulphuric acid supply declined in Q4 2019, as weak downstream demand and bearish pricing at import ports around the world suppressed trading. Chinese producers exported limited tonnage amid the prospect of low netbacks, while southeast Asian buyers were frequently absent from the market for weeks on end.
Asian acid demand largely remained weak in Q4 2019, as downstream industries in China continued to curtail production, and fertilizer producers in southeast Asia delayed purchases. Indian buyers returned to the market in mid-Q4, although bids were below expectations for many traders. Nevertheless, large acid volumes were fixed for 2020 shipment.
European spot sulphuric acid availability remained tight in Q4 2019, as many key producers entered or continued maintenance turnarounds at complexes across the Continent. Volumes were available where required, although spot trading was notably thin.
European spot sulphuric acid demand was weak in Q4 2019, as some 90% of the European market is supplied by contract business. A period of tightness in supply caused by widespread maintenance turnarounds at key European producers largely passed unnoticed in Q3/Q4.
Supply decreased as Asarco strikes in Arizona went on for most of the quarter. The smelter at these operations has the capacity for more than 500,000 tonnes/year of sulphuric acid. Some maintenance was heard at sulphur burning facilities throughout the US as well during the quarter.
Demand strengthened as the Asarco strikes in Arizona tightened supply in the southwestern US. In California, SATCO received its first sulphuric acid cargo to the terminal in the past month, which came from Japan. Additionally, an Asia-origin cargo arrived in Beaumont, which is not usual.
We offer the following global phosphates analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Sulphuric acid marketplace.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Sulphuric acid, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
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.
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