For the Quarter Ending June 2021
The demand for Nitric Acid remained stable during this quarter across the North America region, backed by improved downstream activities across the region. The prices kept fluctuating throughout the quarter in USA. While offers increased effectively during the first half of the quarter due to soaring feedstock Ammonia prices, prices eased considerably in the later half with improvement in market supplies. A key North American producer reported stronger Nitric Acid sales in Q2 due to surge in industrial demand with the ramp up of a new Nitric Acid offtake agreement with the demand exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Nitric acid market showcased firm sentiments during this quarter. In China, demand for Nitric Acid remained uplifted due to firm offtakes from the downstream agrochemicals sector, while ensuring firm supply to the international market. Moreover, prices gained momentum due to soaring feedstock prices in the domestic market and increased further for importing countries due to high freight cost. While in India, prices tumbled during the month of May due to pandemic mayhem in the country, which later improved by the end of the quarter. The price of Nitric Acid in India settled at INR 300/MT during the last week of June in India. South Korean market prospects turned positive after the chemical giant Hanwha announced investment of around USD 170 Million at its existing Nitric Acid manufacturing facility to increase the overall capacity by 400 KTPA, which is expected to be completed by 2023.
Demand for Nitric Acid in Europe remained modest during the quarter, backed by stable offtakes from the domestic agrochemicals sector. Soaring feedstock Ammonia prices also impacted the overall price trend of Nitric Acid across the region. Meanwhile, the demand from other sectors like TDI remained dull throughout the quarter and showcased some signs of recovery by the end of June. Demand from Aniline manufacturers also remained firm during the quarter. In addition, high freight cost also exacerbated the overall price of Nitric Acid of the region.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Rare climate calamity disturbed the production activity of Nitric Acid across the region during Q1 2021. Amidst fair demand from the downstream ink manufacturers and fertiliser sector, supply remained limited throughout the quarter. Critical shortage of key raw materials like Ammonia due to multiple plant shutdowns supported the prices and hence the prices of Nitric Acid rose from USD 320 per MT (January 2021) to USD 335 per MT (March 2021). It is anticipated that the prices may stop accelerating in Q2 2021, as the US production line is coming back on track.
Strong demand from the downstream fertiliser sector amid critical shortage of feedstock chemicals drove the Asian Nitric acid market during Q1 2021. In the Indian market, due to extended turnaround of major feedstock Ammonia plant created a domestic supply shortage. In addition, Chinese lunar new year holidays also impacted the supply activity across the region. Post-holiday restocking propped up the prices of Nitric Acid in the Chinese and Indian markets. Prices ended up settling at USD 1648.46 per MT in India during March end. Although the prices also received a further push from continuously rising freight prices and shortage of shipping containers.
The European countries encountered a steep rise in prices of imported Nitrogen based fertilisers during this period. Nitric Acid demand from agriculture sector remained consistently strong due to the arrival of spring season. Although feeble supply, forced traders to look forward for imports, but that too came out as a premium option, as due to winter season transportation activities were also noted disturbed across the region.
For the Quarter Ending December 2020
The Chinese Nitric Acid market was firm till mid-November after which it started tapering off with offers suppressed over the year-end market lull. The production of nitric acid in some areas remained halted, thereby tightening the supply in short term. India reported huge shortage of feedstock Ammonia which prompted increase in the prices Nitric Acid moving into December. Nitric Acid prices rose from USD 125 per tonne in Q2 to USD 285 per tonne in Q4. Meanwhile, the Indian govt. announced a huge investment of USD 5527.5 million over the agrochemical sector to improve the production capacity of fertilizers in the domestic market. Consumption from the downstream polyurethane manufacturers which reported steady growth in sales across Asia pacific region during Q4 2020. This growth was derived from the improved construction sector, which ultimately led to the rise in demand of Nitric Acid.
Lower automobile manufacturing meant a significant drop in the consumption of PU during the last quarter of 2020 due to spike in COVID-19 cases and fresh lockdowns imposed in some countries. This fall was said to have significantly impacted the demand of Nitric Acid. However, by mid-December, prices for most of the fertilizer products surged to fresh highs as the key raw materials (including nitic acid) started gaining momentum towards the end of Q4 due to recovering demand and production constraints prevailing due to the weather-related problems.
The fourth quarter performance of the North American market seemed to improve both in terms of demand and supply of Nitric Acid. Sales of Nitric Acid were down in Q4 2020 compared to Q4 2019 but showed a significant rise over the third quarter. This improvement in sales was mainly driven by the agriculture sector. A large volume of the product was consumed in the production of downstream polyurethane, a key raw material in foam manufacturing .CF industries, a leading fertilizer manufacturer in the region, invested USD 41.4 million into nitrogen-based fertilizer manufacturing plant with plans of boosting its Nitric Acid production capacity.