Europe sulphuric acid contract price discussions underway

16 June 2014 11:36 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European sulphuric acid contract price discussions for the third quarter and second half of 2014 are in the tentative stages but sources are not expecting to see any major price movements, sources said on Monday.

“It looks like it will be a rollover for the price between the second and third quarter,” said a seller of sulphuric acid.

“I need to agree my second-half year contracts within the next 15 days for the rest of the year, but there are no real arguments for a decrease,” the seller added.

Another source buying sulphuric acid also said that it “feels strongly” that third-quarter contract prices will remain unchanged.

“To be frank there are no reasons for prices to change. The market is balanced and I feel under no pressure from my suppliers,” the buyer said.

In relation to the international movement of sulphuric acid, prices for export to Brazil have firmed from the mid-$50s/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Brazil to the mid-$60s/tonne CFR, but the gains were largely on the back of firmer freight rates.

“We bought at a higher level, but this was because freight is more expensive,” a spot buyer said.

On  a contractual basis, second-quarter sulphuric acid settled in a €58.50-87.50/tonne CFR NWE (northwest Europe) price range.

For biannual contracts, sulphuric acid was agreed at €58-95/tonne CFR NWE for the first half of 2014.

Around 60% of sulphuric acid is derived from burning sulphur, while 32% of acid comes from the smelting of base metals. The remainder is from pyrite.

Traded sulphuric acid is primarily by-product smelter acid. 

Sulphuric acid from elemental sulphur, produced as an involuntary product from oil and gas exploration, is largely used in fertilizer manufacturing and metal ore processing.

Other sulphuric acid end-uses include oil refining, wastewater processing, pulp and paper production, lead-battery acid manufacturing, nylon production, and chemical synthesis.

By Julia Meehan