Stable Sulphuric Acid Prices in US and European Markets Amid Seasonal and Economic Influences
Stable Sulphuric Acid Prices in US and European Markets Amid Seasonal and Economic Influences

Stable Sulphuric Acid Prices in US and European Markets Amid Seasonal and Economic Influences

  • 17-Jun-2024 3:40 PM
  • Journalist: Robert Hume

Texas (USA): The Sulphuric Acid market in the US and Europe is showing a stable price trend, primarily due to the summer fertilizer off-season, with some crops reaching the harvesting stage. This has resulted in steady demand for Sulphuric Acid from downstream agrochemical enterprises. Additionally, the upstream crude oil market experienced its third consecutive weekly loss last week, driven by concerns that OPEC and its allies (OPEC+) plan to unwind some production cuts starting in October, which could affect the supply chain. In response to these developments, market players have increased their trading activities, accompanied by a rise in demand for Sulphuric Acid from downstream enterprises.

In the United States, the Sulphuric Acid market is stable, supported by steady production costs due to stable sulfur prices. As of the week ending June 14th, the market for Sulphuric Acid in the US is holding steady at USD 120/MT (CFR-Texas). This stability in demand can be attributed to the off-season low demand. However, the summer driving season is increasing utilization rates, which helps maintain market stability. The supply of Sulphuric Acid effectively matches the demand from the downstream agrochemical sector in the US. Markets in regions such as the Midwest, Gulf Coast, and Southeast are balanced, driven by higher demand from refineries seeking regenerated Sulphuric Acid during the summer driving season, boosting fuel demand and utilization rates. In the western US, previously tight supplies of Sulphuric Acid have eased, with improved availability along the West Coast. Past imports of Sulphuric Acid have ensured ample inventory levels to meet ongoing demand, significantly contributing to market stability. Consequently, trade inflows from Canada to the US have been limited. Additionally, high inflation rates in the US have resulted in declining business confidence, causing market players to hesitate to change their quotations, thus maintaining unchanged commodity prices. The price spread between Sulphuric Acid and sulfur has remained stable, indicating a consistent market environment for the commodity.

Similarly, despite a decline in production costs due to the decrease in feedstock sulfur prices, the Sulphuric Acid market is stable. Additionally, crude oil flows from the port of Rostock, Germany, experienced a brief disruption when the pipeline's pumping direction was reversed to remove a broken equipment following maintenance. Despite this interruption, refinery operations continued at a high rate and were unaffected by the suspension of crude flows. Regarding Sulphuric Acid, demand from the downstream agrochemical sector remained manageable and was adequately met by existing inventory levels as some crops entered the harvesting season. Inventories of Sulphuric Acid were sufficient to meet downstream sector needs. This stability in the Sulphuric Acid market continued even with ongoing maintenance at the Aurubis Hamburg Plant, which started on May 7th and is expected to resume operations in early to mid-July. Moreover, the European Central Bank (ECB) recently reduced interest rates by 25 basis points, lowering the deposit rate to 3.75%. This move is intended to foster positive market sentiment and is expected to decrease mortgage rates, thereby stimulating economic activity across various sectors.

According to ChemAnalyst, the Sulphuric Acid market is anticipated to increase due to the upcoming plantation season, which is likely to boost demand from the downstream agrochemical sector, leading to higher inventory uptake. Additionally, the expected lowering of interest rates by the US Federal Reserve might enhance market sentiment, further supporting this upward trend.

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