Stable Sulphur Market Amidst Global Economic Uncertainty and Supply Challenges
Stable Sulphur Market Amidst Global Economic Uncertainty and Supply Challenges

Stable Sulphur Market Amidst Global Economic Uncertainty and Supply Challenges

  • 02-May-2024 2:35 PM
  • Journalist: Sasha Fernandes

Doha, Qatar: Despite several economic issues, the Sulphur market is experiencing a stable trend in the global market due to the adaptable demand from the downstream Agrochemical enterprises and adequacy in the inventory levels maintaining the supply and demand equilibrium. In terms of the upstream market, the prices of Crude Oil are witnessing a decline in their trend resulting in lower production costs of Sulphur.

The Sulphur market overall shows a balance between supply and demand, but there's a lack of activity and liquidity in markets situated to the east of the Suez Canal. Consequently, buyers in these regions are hesitant to engage in new spot transactions for May-June until they receive clearer signals about market trends. Additionally, continuously high freight costs have led to a decrease in the margin between buying and selling prices in some eastern markets.

In the Qatar market, the Sulphur market is continuing with the previous week’s prices at USD 83/MT (FOB-Doha) on 26th April 2024. Since the demand from the domestic as well as the overseas market downstream Agrochemical enterprises was moderate along with the sufficient inventory levels, therefore the prices remained stable. However, a period of relative calm lasting two weeks, Houthi rebels recently attacked a vessel in the Red Sea region. Therefore, the possibility of the highly improbable closure of the Strait of Hormuz has led market participants to already incorporate the alternative delivery route via the Cape of Good Hope into pricing. Given this market scenario, traders are reluctant to adjust their Sulphur quotes and are thus maintaining them at the same level as the previous week.

During the same period, the Sulphur market in Morocco was observed to maintain stability. Despite congestion building up outside the port of Jorf Lasfar and recent capacity expansions necessitating increased Sulphur, the market situation remained in balance. In the previous year, one Sulphur burner began operations, with another expected to commence in the latter part of 2024. As a result, the equilibrium between supply and demand persisted throughout this week.

Similarly, in the North American market, the Sulphur price trend remained stable owing to a well-balanced supply chain for the commodity. Consequently, buyers opted for on-demand procurement of Sulphur to maintain equilibrium between supply and demand, rather than bulk purchasing. Moreover, trading activities from the Canadian market to the US market were restricted. However, the Sulphur supply chain faces potential disruptions due to the looming threat of a strike by Canadian National Railway (CN) employees. Thousands of railway workers at Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) have overwhelmingly voted in favor of striking, with potential action looming as early as May 22nd.

Traders are noting a shift in Sulphur market sentiment towards less optimism, as many are now anticipating lower increases in prices and feeling less confident about potential rises. There are concerns among some market players that the downturn in phosphate markets could result in reduced production and subsequently lower demand for Sulphur.

As per ChemAnalyst, the Sulphur market is expected to face downward pressure on their price trend in the upcoming weeks due to the weaker demand from the downstream Agrochemical enterprises which might result in the increased consumption rate of the commodity. However, in the US market due to the potential Canadian National Rail Strike, the supply chain might face disruption which might result in a bullish market scenario for Sulphur.

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