Quarterly Update on Global Sulphuric Acid Market
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
The North American Sulphuric Acid market witnessed a downtrend due to lower demand from the downstream derivatives. Due to halted production activities across the US gulf, amid freezing weather conditions, some Sulphuric Acid production facilities remained idled, like PCL Nitrogen shut its Texas based Sulphuric Acid production unit in mid of February. Although demand from the domestic market remained very low and several manufacturers claimed sufficient availability of Sulphuric Acid, average prices reduced by 2.4% during the quarter to settle at USD 60.5/MT till March end.
The Asian market witnessed a fair import demand from other continents like Europe, although the regional demand remained low due to lesser enquiries from the downstream fertiliser sector. The Chinese Lunar year affected Asian Sulphuric Acid output for a couple of weeks as inventory levels of several major producers reduced to its lowest. Meanwhile, in the Indian market, domestic demand from phosphate fertilisers manufacturers was lower than the export demand from Europe amid spring seasons. Despite of sufficient availability, prices of Sulphuric Acid remained well supported by high priced imports arriving from some European countries. Sulphuric Acid prices in India rose from USD 177.23 per MT (January 2021) to USD 207.17 per MT (March 2021).
Europe had fair demand for Sulphuric Acid from the domestic fertiliser sector during Q1 2021. The demand majorly induced by phosphate fertiliser manufacturing sector remained high due to spring season. The domestic supply remained moderate to low across the region amid fair demand sending the regional prices to new highs during the quarter. Trading activity remained halted due to freezing weather across region that disrupted the supply activity across the region.
For the Quarter Ending September 2020
Shortage in the supply of Sulphuric Acid was witnessed in Q3 2020 in the Asia Pacific region, because of escalated demand of the product from the downstream sectors in China which led to an increase in the domestic Chinese consumption. China being one of the major exporters and consumers of Sulphuric acid in APAC strongly drives the regional market outlook. The demand-supply equilibrium of the region was seen impending shifts towards China and South Korea with producers running out of stocks till the end of 2020.
The supply of Sulphuric acid was stable in Europe in Q3 of 2020, while the demand of Sulphuric acid which remained poor in July & August, showed gradual recovery by the end of September 2020. Most of the economies in the European region started recovering with demand from the acid consuming sectors gaining the lost uptrend by the second half of the quarter with rollovers readily accepted by most of the buyers. Moving into Q4, regional manufacturers are expecting positive market sentiments as the despite looming uncertainties as the second COVID-19 wave creates confusion among producers.
The supply of Sulphuric acid was tight in Q3 due to the outbreak of Hurricane Laura in the region, which caused temporary disruptions in the US’ power supply. Kennecott, one of the largest producers of Sulphuric Acid via smelter route reported decline in the Sulphuric Acid production due to disruptions in the power supply. Many other manufacturing facilities were heard announcing temporary closures at their units, exacerbating the supply constraints. Some units were not able to resume the production until the end of September thus creating a significant demand-supply gap.