Europe third-quarter sulphur contract talks continue stable to firm

04 July 2014 14:42 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)—European third-quarter sulphur contract price discussions are ongoing although some settlements have been made, with rollovers predominating and some players holding out for slight increases, sources said on Friday.

“It looks like the market is at a rollover, but we have still not concluded with one of our suppliers. So for the time being we have no confirmation,” said a large sulphur  buyer for the caprolactam market.

However, a second sulphur buyer, also producing caprolactam, said that  it had agreed rollovers for all of its third-quarter contracts.

“I concluded large and small contracts - all at a rollover. There are even some parties that were willing to rollover for the rest of the year,” the buyer said.

The second-quarter contract price in Europe settled at $159-170/tonne delivery Benelux, up from $129-140/tonne.

Meanwhile, a producer supplying the European sulphur market said that it was still in discussions with its customers, but hoped to finalise all its contract soon.

“We wanted to increase $10-20/tonne and are still in negotiations. We have not concluded with most of our customers but we hope to soon. We now aim to pass an increase of $10/tonne,” the producer said.

The European sulphur market acts rather independently from the rest of the world, since it is liquid rather than solid-based. Therefore external international factors, such as price developments in key regions such as the Middle East and China, tend to have little influence in Europe during the negotiation process.

“So prices are starting to firm in China and Middle East producers are increasing [their prices] but this has nothing to do with Europe, we don’t buy from the Arab Gulf so why should we pay a higher price?” said a third buyer.

Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (Tasweeq) announced its Qatar Sulphur Price (QSP) for July at $166/tonne FOB (free on board), up $14/tonne from June and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) set its official selling price (OSP) for July sulphur for the Indian market at $170/tonne FOB, an increase of $20/tonne from June


By Julia Meehan