Bromine Prices Surge in April 2024 Amidst Middle East Tensions, Container Shipments Faces Challenges
Bromine Prices Surge in April 2024 Amidst Middle East Tensions, Container Shipments Faces Challenges

Bromine Prices Surge in April 2024 Amidst Middle East Tensions, Container Shipments Faces Challenges

  • 29-Apr-2024 2:05 PM
  • Journalist: Robert Hume

Texas, USA: The US Bromine market has experienced an overall bullish trend in April 2024 due to ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.  Amid the conflict between Israel and Palestine coupled with the intervention of Iran, the Bromine prices have soared this month. The arrival of container ships is still taking longer than usual time, and as a result, the Bromine supplies have been compromised in the US market. The US imports most of the Bromine from China to fulfill its domestic consumption.

Amid delayed shipments from Israel and Jordan, due to heightened tension in the Middle East, the prices of Bromine soared in the Asian markets. Additionally, due to heightened tensions in the Middle East, the sea trade routes have been affected heavily. During the third week of April, before Iran's Saturday missile and drone attack on Israel, the IRGC seized an Israeli-owned, MSC-operated container vessel in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz. This incident, coupled with Iran-sponsored attacks on Red Sea traffic, presents another potential challenge to the container industry.

Also, the freight rates have remained elevated although, a few supply-related issues have eased. Asia to North America rates remain significantly higher compared to 2019, with a 90% increase to the West Coast and a 60% increase to the East Coast. Red Sea diversions continue to absorb capacity, resulting in rare blank sailings even during the slower months. Similarly, rates from Asia to North Europe and the Mediterranean are more than double the levels seen in 2019. While some carriers aim to maintain prices around the current levels, others plan to introduce General Rate Increases to potentially raise North Europe rates. The Panama Canal Authority has announced further easing of low-water restrictions due to increasing rainfall.

On demand front, consumer demand for Bromine, the downstream construction industry, where Bromine finds its major usage has shown improvement in the previous months. The inquiries for Bromine from the downstream flame-retardant and other intermediate industries were noted to be stable.  Construction spending in February 2024 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of USD 2,091.5 billion. Compared to February 2023, the February 2024 figure is up by 10.7%, amounting to USD 1,889.6 billion. In the first two months of 2024, construction spending reached USD 298.1 billion, marking an increase of 11.9% from the USD 266.5 billion recorded during the same period in 2023. The latest price assessment from Bromine Bulk CIF Houston was USD 2253/MT in the week ending on 26th April 2024.

According to the ChemAnalyst pricing intelligence, the prices of Bromine are anticipated to demonstrate a further bullish trend in the upcoming week on the back of improved consumer demand and the influx of higher-priced goods amidst changing supply dynamics.

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