Quarterly Update on Global Potassium Carbonate Market
for the Quarter Ending June 2021
During the second quarter of 2021, supplies of the Potassium Carbonate in the North American region were curtailed by a significant percentage owing to the diversion of major volumes of upstream Potassium Chloride to the fertilizers industries amidst the seasonal hype from the domestic as well as overseas market. Demand remained persistent from the downstream soap and detergent sector along with the active buying from the pharmaceutical industries. Offtakes observed a seasonal push from the agrochemicals sector which reported robust growth. The prices of the Potassium Carbonate observed an uptrend taking cues from the demand supply imbalance during the second quarter of 2021.
Potassium Carbonate supplies in the Asia Pacific region showcased mixed sentiments in the first half of Q2 as the pricing trend strengthened due to an unprecedented surge in demand from the soap and detergent sector. Indian demand stayed muted amidst imposed restrictions to contain the COVID spread and slackening imports and manpower shortages. Imports remain largely restricted in the month of April which served as an opportunity to the domestic players to maintain healthy margins. A leading Indian manufacturer reduced the operational rates in May due to the lack of manpower. Potassium Carbonate pricing trend declined in May and June after gaining marginal uptrend in April with Ex-Works Ahmedabad prices in June assessed at USD 1177 per tonne in June. Chinese players reported ample Potassium Carbonate inventories and reduced quarterly offers due to market surplus.
In the second quarter of 2021, the market supplies of Potassium Carbonate were curtailed significantly due to limited availability of the key feedstock Potash as majority of available volumes were diverted towards the fertilizers industry. Situation further worsened as the EU imposed the 4th level sanctions on Belarus Potash which meant hampered Potassium Carbonate production. Demand remained firm from the soap and detergent industries and offtakes were consistent from the agrochemicals industries amidst the seasonal hype in demand.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
Potassium Carbonate supplies in the North American region were constrained during the first quarter of 2021, with reportedly better seasonal offtakes of potassium into the agricultural formulation, followed by the deicing uptake of the KOH after the severe cold weather conditions in the USA led to tighten the supplies of raw materials to manufacture Potassium Carbonate. Demand surged as the offtakes were constant from the soap and detergent industry and Food preservative sector. A key manufacturer hiked the prices of Potassium Carbonate by USD 60 per tonne in February as the supply demand gap widened in the North American region.
During the first quarter of 2021, the supplies of the Potassium Carbonate in the region were balanced as offtakes were high and the industrial operating rates were optimum to meet the demand from the end-use segment. Regional constraints were witnessed as several Asian cargoes were diverted towards the western region in terms for better netbacks and low inventories level as the several plants in the region were on a turnaround amid the Chinese lunar New Year holidays. Demand surged from the downstream soap and detergent market. Japan also revealed its plans to impose antidumping duties on imports of Potassium Carbonate from South Korea by increasing the charges by 30.8% for next four months. India reported surplus inventory levels while downstream demand remained feeble on low enquiries from the end-customers such as detergent manufacturers and agrochemical producers. The price of Potassium Carbonate in the Indian markets was heard around USD 1268 per tonne in March.
The European Potassium Carbonate market was sluggish, due to balanced supplies in the first quarter of 2021. The plant operating rates was low in the northwestern hemisphere amid the unstable availability of feedstock, due to the transportation lag and diversion of KOH towards the other industrial applications as the general economy rebounds. Demand surge from the soap and detergent industries followed by the better offtakes from the agricultural sector.
For the Quarter Ending December 2020
Potassium Carbonate demand remained firm due to consistent increase in consumption from the soap and detergent industry in the wake of new coronavirus pandemic in Q4 of FY20. Following the abundant demand, many new companies also entered the hand wash segment after widened demand and supply gaps arising out of unprecedented consumption due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prices remained high as compared to Q3 and averaged at USD 1017 per MT in Q4 due to limited supply of the feedstock caustic potash in the month of November.
High demand from glass industry coupled with the firm demand from the detergent and soap industry in Q4 due to increasing health and hygiene awareness in the wake of new COVID-19 strains is set to maintain prices high in the next quarter as well. Moreover, higher energy requirements in the feedstock Caustic Potash production would ensure pressure on the production costs for Potassium Carbonate prices for the upcoming quarters.
Glass industry revived from the lockdown as the demand picked up from the construction industry in Q4 thereby raising the demand for Potassium Carbonate in the region in Q4. Demand from soap industry grew at a much higher rate as compared to the demand in glass segment in the wake of new COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Apart from rise in domestic demand, requirements for export in the APAC region increased, thereby raising the prices of Potassium Carbonate in Q4.