Sulphur prices plateau in China - little buying interest seen

25 February 2014 15:34 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Sulphur prices in major importing region China appear to have reached a plateau as Chinese buyers prefer to adopt a wait-and-see position, sources said on Tuesday.

“The market is silent - $210/tonne CFR (cost and freight) is the maximum in China now,” said a trader.

“The problem is now most of the cargoes will be arriving to China - they are just in a wait-and-see attitude. Anybody I am calling right now is not interested.

“People are saying it’s too high we can get from ports,” the trader added.

Sulphur prices in China have been firming since September 2013 largely because of tight availability, however, it seems they have now reached a point where buyers seem to be retreating to the sidelines because of lack of market direction.

In addition, Chinese buyers, which are largely producers of phosphate fertilizers, have been drawing on inventories at major ports, according to sources.

According to recent port data, inventory levels at the nine major ports were down by almost 1 million tonnes year on year.

Adding to the quiet tone of the market were industry events currently held in China and Egypt - both of which have drawn active market participants in China and the Middle East away from the sulphur market.

By Julia Meehan