For the Quarter Ending June 2021
Global demand for bulk Oxygen was primarily driven by the demand for medical Oxygen from Asia, amid rapid surge in pandemic cases during April. Post recovery from pandemic, industrial Oxygen demand effectively improved in USA, bolstered by resumption in majority of the industrial activities in the country. On the other hand, a considerable decline in demand for medical Oxygen from the regional market was observed in the meantime, following consistent fall in the Covid curve of the country. Therefore, an effective rise in prices of product was observed during Q2 2021 across North America region.
In India, Oxygen demand increased to multi folds during Q2 2021, following the unprecedented surge in delta virus cases. Devastating pandemic situation in the country led to an astonishing hike in the demand for medical Oxygen. Besides, major steel plants, diverted their production to medical oxygen production increased their plant operating rates. Amidst the hustle, in order to adhere gains in terrible times some people indulged in black marketing of Oxygen, selling the product at 10 times higher prices than the normal price. Since demand was too high, India had to import Oxygen from all the possible sources of Asia, Europe, North America and Middle East during this period.
In Europe, overall demand for Oxygen increased by more than 15% during this quarter. The demand was primarily driven by medical sector, especially from Asia. However, as some European countries were recovering from the repercussions of the pandemic, industrial activities showcased significant improvement, which increased the regional demand for Industrial Oxygen. In addition, major gas manufacturers like Linde and Air Liquide were witnessed exporting Oxygen to India to satisfy the overall urgency of medical Oxygen under pandemic mayhem.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Demand for medical Oxygen remained stable in Q1 but the supply remained tight, which supported the prices of Bulk Oxygen across the region. Recent medical Oxygen stats across North America revealed that there is a huge shortage of medical oxygen in several countries of North America. Oxygen demand has risen phenomenally in past few months with many-folds increase in the number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals in certain areas like south California. In addition, demand from industrial gases sector such as metal manufacturing, remained marginally high than the prior quarter. Looking at robust demand, Messer and North Star BlueScope Steel (NSBS) entered into an agreement in March to increase the supply of gaseous oxygen in Delta by up to 700 tons-per-day by building a new air separation unit (ASU).
In the Asia Pacific region, Liquid Oxygen sustained its high demand from the prior quarter. The demand was majorly driven by medical oxygen sector and industrial sector like steel manufacturing industries. During January, demand for medical Oxygen declined due to reduction in COVID cases across the region which later increased due to resurgence in infections. Furthermore, the demand for industrial Oxygen from Steel manufacturing industries showed continuous improvement over Q4 2020. This rise in demand amidst tight supply supported the price of bulk Oxygen during the quarter.
According to most Bulk Oxygen manufacturers of Europe, around 40% of the Oxygen demand comes from the medical sector of the region. Hence the demand for medical Oxygen remained robust due to sustained rise in COVID-19 cases. However, lack of sufficient availability of Oxygen in the market triggered sharp increases in Bulk Oxygen prices. Additionally, demand from the metal manufacturing sector marginally increased from the prior quarter due to some improvement observed in automotive and construction sectors. Roll out of COVID-19 vaccines and ongoing vaccination drives improved the market sentiments, and it is anticipated that the market would grab its pace in forthcoming quarters.
For the Quarter Ending December 2020
Although the demand for medical oxygen witnessed steep surge in the initial months of the pandemic but it stabilized gradually by Q4 2020 following the reduction in COVID-19 cases in major Asian countries like China and India. Air Liquide, a global level bulk Oxygen manufacturer, stated that they faced sharp increase in demand for industrial Oxygen by the end of Q4 2020 from consolidated engineering and construction market of Asia Pacific region. Linde, another multinational bulk Oxygen manufacturer quoted that their overall sales grew by 8% which led to a marginal increase in prices of bulk Oxygen by 1% compared to Q4 2019.
The demand for bulk Oxygen was stable in North America region during fourth quarter of 2020 due to firm demand from metal manufacturing and healthcare sector. Linde, an international manufacturer of bulk Oxygen, stated that their sales during final quarter of 2020 increased by 3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 due to the increased demand from healthcare sector. In addition, compared to Q4 2019, prices of medical Oxygen rose by 2% whereas industrial Oxygen prices remained nearly stable due its feeble demand.
According to Air Liquide, healthcare sector covers almost 40% of their total gas and services market in Europe, due to COVID-19 it has showcased 9.7% growth which remained high till the end of final quarter 2020. By the end of the fourth quarter, demand for bulk Oxygen from chemical and steel industries gradually improved due to the recovery in automotive, metal manufacturing, and energy industry in Europe. Demand in eastern Europe was also deemed good in the fourth quarter due to the upsurge in the industrial requirements from Russia and Poland.