Get the latest insights on price movement and trend analysis of Sulphur in different regions across the world (Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa).
Sulphur Price Trend for the First Half of 2023
A gradual decline in the prices of Sulphur was observed in the first two quarters of 2023. The spot prices of sulfur went from about 181 USD/MT in January to around 112 USD/MT in June’23 in the Chinese market. The declining trajectory of the prices resulted from the weak demand from the refinery and fertilizers sector. Additionally, decreasing consumption rates, increasing crude oil prices, and feeble support from the downstream sector aided the fall in sulfur prices.
The price trends in Europe were not much different from the ones observed in the Asia-Pacific region. The falling prices of Sulphur were owing to the difficulties faced in exporting products to US markets amid declining demand and uncertain freight rates. Along with this, the supply chain of Europe was highly disrupted, especially in the German market, which negatively impacted the price trend of Sulphur in H1’23.
The poor performance of the downstream market pushed the prices of Sulphur toward the negative side. The inquiries from the fertilizers sector were almost negligible, and falling global demand for Sulphur adversely impacted the market. Amid declining demand, the supply chains in the regions relaxed with no requirement for strong shipments, which further fueled the falling prices.
According to Procurement Resource, the price of Sulphur is estimated to fall in the upcoming months. The demand from the end-user industries seems feeble, along with disruptions in the supply chains, which are expected to dictate a downward trend in the market.
Sulfur Price Trend for the Second Half of 2022
The last two quarters of 2022 witnessed a fluctuating trend in the prices of Sulphur. In the third quarter, the price trend suffered due to an over-piling of inventories, given the weak demand from the fertilizers sector and related sulfur markets. The region also saw fluctuations in energy prices and disruptions in the supply chains due to declining consumer confidence. Further, the high volatility in the financial market negatively impacted on the price trend of Sulphur in the fourth quarter.
In the European region, the price trend of Sulphur dipped due to the weak demand from the fertilizer and Lithium Sulphur batteries market. The ripple effect of sanctions imposed on trade with Russia further worsened the situation. In addition to this, the feedstock prices also dipped, and the purchasing potential of buyers declined, which led to a rise in the level of inventories that had a negative impact on the prices of Sulphur.
In the third and fourth quarters of 2022, the prices of Sulphur moved southwards. This gradual decline in the prices was caused by the stockpiling of the inventories due to weak trading activities in the North American market. The poor purchasing ability of end-user industries and feeble demand from the sulphuric acid industries further fueled this downward movement.
According to Procurement Resource, the prices of Sulphur are estimated to decline in the upcoming months as the end-user sulphuric acid market and ongoing Russia-Ukraine crises are expected to impact the global markets negatively.
For the Second Quarter of 2022
The Asia Pacific region's sulphur market had both positives and negatives in the second quarter. Due to COVID limitations, the Chinese market had a limited supply of sulphur at the beginning of the quarter. High manufacturer quotations drove up the price of sulphur and supported the downstream sulphuric acid.
Since some of the Chinese refinery's components were undergoing repair at the end of the quarter, the price of sulphur in the area was maintained. The offer for sulphur in the Indian market was also improved by the additional cost support provided by the higher shipping costs. As a result, throughout the quarter, sulphur prices were settled at 580 USD/MT on a CFR Shanghai basis and 40430 INR/MT on an ex-Mumbai basis.
The market for sulphur in the North American region grew steadily throughout the second quarter. Due to the restrictions on Russian fertiliser imports and the rising food price index, domestic players were forced to turn more and more to Middle Eastern suppliers. Chemicals used in the region's pharma, chemical, and rubber sectors mostly drove the demand for sulphur. During Q2 of 2022, per ton price of sulphur was noted at 720 USD/MT on a CFR Texas.
Throughout the European market, sulphur market sentiments were on the rise. The fluctuation of crude oil prices and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had a significant impact on petrochemical commodities. Sanctions placed by the Western and European nations on Russian energy companies as well as other organisations had a greater regional impact. The region's sulphur market was driven by the high cost pressure brought on by the rising price of crude oil. During Q2 of 2022, sulphur prices were observed at 545 EUR/MT on a FOB Hamburg basis.
According to Procurement Resource, sulphur prices are projected to be bleak in the second half of the year. Lower end-user demand and the lower downstream sulphuric acid market could be significant elements weighing down prices. Moreover, the lower prices of feedstock, ripening inventories, and torpid market of lithium-sulphur batteries would hang on the lower end of the sulphur prices.
For the First Quarter of 2022
The market dynamics for sulphur in the Asia Pacific region experienced a substantial gyration in the first quarter of 2022, as Russia began its special military operations in Ukraine. The price of crude oil increased as western nations became more hesitant to purchase Russian supplies, and queries focused on the middle-eastern market. As a result, the crude offers have had an impact on the APAC sulphur market.
Because of the geopolitical upheaval in eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine, the European region is the most affected market. As a result of the sanctions, Russia became isolated on the global financial arena and lost its ability to arbitrate with the European Union. In contrast, European countries were hesitant to purchase Russian energy materials in protest of Ukraine's invasion.
The current energy crisis has had a significant impact on market dynamics, and the Suez Canal Authority increased costs by 5%, further inflating sulphur prices in the European market. In mid-March, the CFR Hamburg pries exceeded the 450 USD/MT level as a result of the ripple effect.
The market in the North American region remained consolidated in the first quarter of 2022, owing to strong crude offers throughout the quarter. Even after the revival of Omicron, the OPEC+ alliance continued to its resolve to progressively increase crude oil supply, which helped to keep market sentiments in the US domestic market buoyant.
Agricultural and chemical intermediate demand, on the other hand, remained consistently strong as China and Russia imposed limits on raw material exports and the growing food price index changed the dynamics and maintained bullish views in the regional market. During the quarter, the CFR Texas negotiations for sulphur granular were settled at 460 USD/MT.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
Ministerial-level talks completed after the OPEC+ Alliance to gradually raise Crude Oil production output. The APAC sulphur market witnessed a considerable upswing in producer quotations, which was driven by continually increasing downstream demand. In contrast, high freight costs combined with rising prices encouraged ASEAN customers to postpone imports, reinforcing the wait-and-see attitude in their domestic market.
The offers, however, took a little dive in the second half of the quarter, owing to the return of COVID 19's omicron version. The CFR Shanghai quarterly average discussion for sulphur granular grade was assessed at 312 USD/MT as a result of the ripple effect.
The North American market witnessed a mixed trend in the fourth quarter of 2021, the producer's offer for the chemical remained consolidated after observing significant growth in the previous quarter.
The domestic market sentiments were uplifted after Biden’s Administration announced to release the strategic Petroleum reserves as part of ongoing efforts to lower the prices of Crude Oil in the fourth quarter. As a ripple effect of the persistent demand from the downstream players, the CIF Texas quarterly average was assessed at 371 USD/MT.
In the South American region, especially in Brazil, the price was 313 USD/MT, 338 USD/MT, and 318 USD/MT in October, November and December, respectively. It was due to the increased prices of crude oil and supply and demand imbalances.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
Despite limited demand from end-user sectors, sulphur prices continued to rise across Asia. Lower output from the US due to the extreme cold resulted in a global shortage of most primary chemicals, including sulphur, while demand for crude-based sulphur in the global market was high, supporting its prices in Asia.
As oil prices continued to rise in March, the CFR price in Indian markets hovered around 199.93 USD/MT, up from 167 USD/MT in January. After the Lunar New Year holidays, a similar scenario occurred in China, when sulphur prices rose due to a domestic scarcity.
The demand from downstream businesses remained strong during this quarter, causing sulphur prices to rise continuously. In the Chinese market, an unusual increase in offtakes from downstream fertiliser factories, combined with a severe shortage, caused sulphur prices to skyrocket.
Meanwhile, in India, a similar situation was witnessed, with downstream fertiliser plants maintaining large offtakes to meet total demand. As a result, the Indian and Chinese markets saw increases of more than 10% and 8%, respectively, in May, with prices settling at 246.8 USD/MT and 224 USD/MT in India and China, respectively.
In the third quarter of 2021, prices increased significantly in the Asia Pacific region. Due to increased demand from downstream fertiliser manufacturers, prices in the Chinese domestic market skyrocketed in the third quarter. As a result of the energy problems in Europe and China, global fertiliser costs surged to new highs in Q3, prompting more scrutiny.
The market sentiments in India were diverse in different parts of the country. Traders in Mumbai and Vadodara reported strong demand and continuous offtakes of sulphur, but no notable price changes were noted in September due to greater stockpiles. Sulphur prices in the country have been steadily declining due to rising inventory levels at BPCL.
Sulphur was in short supply on the European market, despite strong demand from downstream industries. During this time, supply was still limited due to scheduled and unplanned shutdowns at key refineries in France and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, a container shortage and high shipping freight increased its prices, prompting overseas dealers to avoid the European supplies.
In Q3 2021, the region market outlook for sulphur showed mixed sentiments. Downstream markets saw a price increase on Monday, September 20th, with fresh record spot gas highs and no meaningful price relief for fertiliser manufacturers. Throughout the quarter, downstream fertilisers and the sulphuric acid industry saw an increase in demand.
A number of European fertiliser facilities were forced to shut down due to record-high Dutch TTF and British NBP gas costs, but the British government stepped in with short-term financial assistance, allowing one of CF Industries' two UK fertiliser plants to reopen.
As a result of the cold snap that affected the US Gulf Coast (USGC) area in mid-February, North America's crude-based sulphur output was heard to be reduced. Due to unfavourable working circumstances caused by the frigid weather, most refineries remained closed in February, resulting in a major reduction in its output, which supported prices.
Although downstream demand for the chemical remained low, due to a lack of supply and rising crude derivative prices. The price jumped by 5 USD/MT in February and stayed stable until the end of March at 135 USD/MT.
Sulphur prices in North America fluctuated on a monthly basis during the second quarter, as the demand and supply gap changed month to month. Several refineries reopened in April after being down for a long time owing to the harsh winter of February, effectively improving the country's supply.
Prices fell sharply in May, as crude-based sulphur supplies from domestic refineries were quickly restored. Despite the improvement in supply chain activity, prices rose marginally in the second half of Q2 due to increased demand from the downstream fertilisers market. As a result, prices in the United States increased a little from 161 USD/MT to 162 USD/MT in mid-June.
The third quarter of 2021 saw an increased trend in North American pricing, which was followed by continuous demand from downstream industries. In terms of supply, the third quarter saw an improvement as refinery utilisation rates remained stable at pre-pandemic levels. In Q3, demand increased, owing primarily to downstream sulphuric acid producers, fertiliser, and industrial sectors. Following the recovery from the catastrophic weather in the United States, the supply and demand balance improved dramatically, resulting in a large increase in sulphur prices in Q3 2021.
Sulphur prices in the Brazilian market had increased during the first three quarters (from January to September) from 232 to 306 USD/MT. It was due to overall global market's increase in prices due to high demand and also the recovery of the economy after COVID.
For the Year 2020
In India, the crude oil sector is the primary source of sulphur. The market had conflicting views towards the end of September, with ample supply and a resurgence in downstream demand. China's regular stock increased from 1 million tonnes to 3 million tonnes. Due to pent-up downstream demand for detergents and fungicides, its consumption in India and China has surged. Despite the fact that demand was still bearish in Q3 of 2020, it was still much above the previous quarter's record lows. Prices maintained in the 90-92 USD/MT CFR China area.
As a result of Covid-19, plant turnaround times were extended, limiting the supplies across the European market. The supply was also delayed by the stress of switching to a low-sulphur gasoline as part of a slew of government programmes aimed at alleviating rising environmental concerns.
Despite the fact that demand was constant in Q3, low offtakes from the downstream capro sector slowed the overall demand fundamentals. With the economy on the mend, demand for the chemical from various downstream industries is expected to pick up significantly in the coming quarters. Overall, there was a reduction in its supply due to new IMO 2020 restrictions. The price was 170.90 USD/MT.
The majority of market operations in the United States were paused at the end of August due to Hurricane Laura's threat to the US Gulf Coast. The disruption of logistics has a direct impact on its supply across the United States. In mid-September, Suncor Sulphur announced a planned maintenance turnaround, exacerbating the supply situation in the final weeks of September.
Despite the fact that burners were running at peak efficiency in concert with high demand, a big fertiliser manufacturer was heard reporting a massive increase in the chemical’s inputs. However, the US sulphur market's export revenues were constrained due to limited output. Prices had dropped from 51 USD/MT to 40 USD/MT from the previous year. It was due to the COVID-19 shutdowns that sulphur prices fell.
Sulphur prices began to fall at the end of each quarter in 2019, and they gradually increased in 2020, beginning in January at 75 USD/MT and ending in December at 152 USD/MT. It was due to an overall stable market in the world but the prices increased from last year.
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Sulphur. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.
Sulphur is basically a chemical element, which is known to be the 10th most abundant element in the universe. It is multivalent, as well as nonmetallic. In appearance, the elemental Sulphur is a bright yellow crystalline solid at room temperature. It is most widely used in the production of sulphuric acid, which in turn goes into fertilisers, batteries and cleaners.
|Chemical Formula||S or S8|
|Industrial Uses||Sulphuric acid, Fire chemicals, Vulcanisation, Fungicide and pesticides, Black gunpowder, Furnitures, Fertilisers, Pharmaceuticals|
|Molecular Weight||32.07 g/mol|
|Synonyms||7704-34-9, Sulphur, precipitated, Sulphur, 99.5%, sublimed, Sulphur, 99.5+%, refined|
|Supplier Database||INEOS Capital Limited, Repsol S.A., Petrobras, Ishtar Company LLC, Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pte Ltd.|
|Region/Countries Covered||Asia Pacific: China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, South Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, UAE, Israel, Hongkong, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand
Europe: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Ireland Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Finland, Czech Republic, Portugal and Greece
North America: United States and Canada
Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru
Africa: South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco
|Currency||US$ (Data can also be provided in local currency)|
|Supplier Database Availability||Yes|
|Customization Scope||The report can be customized as per the requirements of the customer|
|Post-Sale Analyst Support||360-degree analyst support after report delivery|
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The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).
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