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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Sulphuric acid: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2018
Sulphuric acid spot supply is expected to remain tight until at least the second half of 2019 – particularly in Asia. The majority of global suppliers are sold out of spot material until the end of the year. This has attracted new market entrants in China and India.
With Chile having not bought large volumes of material in the first half of 2018 and stockpiling amid concerns of the impact of environmental regulation, demand from the region is increasing. Brazil is entering its peak season. India demand remains strong because of the Tuticorin closure.
European spot supply is expected to remain tight until the second half of 2019. Producers have been focusing on domestic markets in 2018. With spot prices firmer than contracts, some producers have begun mulling limiting their contract exposure in 2019. The majority of European producers are sold out of spot material until the end of the year.
Seasonal import patterns in Brazil and Morocco typically see the majority of volumes brought in during the second half. Enquiries from Brazil have been intensifying in recent weeks, suggesting that 2018 will follow a similar pattern. With Chile and India demand unseasonably strong – Europe buying interest is expected to firm.
Updated to Q3 2018
It is unclear where overall sulphuric acid supply will be over the course of the third quarter. On one hand, Unity Envirotech’s ammonium sulphate plant will continue to ramp up its consumption of sulphuric acid. On the other hand, several smelters and burners have come out of turnaround recently, which will alleviate some supply tension.
US sulphuric acid demand is expected to stay steady and strong during the third quarter as the US remains in a deficit of the product. The Henry, Illinois ammonium sulphate plant by Unity Envirotech will continue to ramp up and consume more tonnes as time goes by.
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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.
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Sulphuric Acid Methodology
About Sulphuric acid
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.