Phosphoric acid price February 2024 and outlook (see chart below)

  • North America:US$1.08/KG, unchanged
  • Europe:US$1.47/KG, unchanged
  • Africa:US$1.09/KG, unchanged
  • Northeast Asia:US$0.85/KG, 1.2% up
The chart below summarizes Phosphoric acid price trend per region, as well as the outlook. It takes a moment to load.

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Phosphoric acid price index

This post is a summary of the phosphoric acid price developments. The price developments of phosphoric acid are expressed in US$ prices converted FX rates applicable at the time when the price was valid. Phosphoric acid price index developments are calculated from multiple separate sources of data to ensure statistical accuracy.

The outlook for phosphoric acid prices, on the second tab, is generated from different inputs including:

  • Very recent price developments of immediate cost drivers of phosphoric acid prices
  • Recent price developments of underlying feedstocks which drive the price of phosphoric acid
  • Market futures for both cost drives and feedstocks of phosphoric acid prices
  • Adjustment of current supply/demand imbalances in the phosphoric acid market
  • Longer term trends in likely demand conditions

Further information on the Phosphoric acid price chart

 

What is Phosphoric acid

Phosphoric acid, also known as orthophosphoric acid, is a colorless, odorless, and highly acidic liquid. It is a mineral acid with the chemical formula H3PO4 and is composed of one atom of phosphorus, four atoms of oxygen, and three atoms of hydrogen. Phosphoric acid is a strong acid and is highly corrosive, making it hazardous to handle in its concentrated form.

Phosphoric acid is commonly used in a wide range of industrial applications, including the production of fertilizers, detergents, and food additives. It is also used as a pH adjuster in various industrial processes and as an etching agent in the semiconductor industry.

Phosphoric acid is also commonly found in many household products, including soft drinks, where it is used as an acidulant to give the drinks their characteristic tartness. It is also used as a flavor enhancer in various food products, including jams, jellies, and other confectionery products. In the pharmaceutical industry, phosphoric acid is used as an excipient in tablet formulations, where it helps to improve the stability and dissolution properties of the drug.

 

How is phosphoric acid produced

Phosphoric acid is produced by several methods, including the wet process, thermal process, and furnace process. The wet process is the most commonly used method for producing phosphoric acid.

Wet Process

Phosphate rock is first ground into a fine powder and then mixed with sulfuric acid to produce phosphoric acid.

The mixture is then filtered to remove any impurities and to separate the solid gypsum from the liquid phosphoric acid.

The liquid phosphoric acid is then purified and concentrated by a series of chemical treatments and distillation processes.

Finally, the purified phosphoric acid is stored in tanks for further use or shipped to customers.

Thermal Process

Phosphate rock is first heated to a very high temperature (around 1,500°C) in an electric furnace, producing phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5) and other by-products.

The phosphorus pentoxide is then mixed with water to produce phosphoric acid.

The resulting mixture is purified and concentrated by a series of chemical treatments and distillation processes.

Furnace Process

This process is similar to the thermal process, but it involves the use of coke as a reducing agent to convert the phosphorus pentoxide into phosphorus.

The phosphorus is then reacted with air or oxygen to produce phosphorus pentoxide, which is then used to produce phosphoric acid using the thermal process.

Overall, the production of phosphoric acid is a complex and energy-intensive process that requires careful control of various reaction parameters and the use of specialized equipment and materials. The choice of production method depends on factors such as the quality of the phosphate rock, the desired purity and concentration of the phosphoric acid, and the economics of the production process.

 

What is phosphoric acid used for

Phosphoric acid is used for a wide range of industrial, agricultural, and consumer applications. Some of the most common uses of phosphoric acid include:

Fertilizer production

Phosphoric acid is a key raw material in the production of various types of fertilizers, including ammonium phosphate, triple superphosphate, and monoammonium phosphate.

Food and beverage industry

Phosphoric acid is used as a food additive and acidulant in various products such as soft drinks, candies, jams, and jellies.

Industrial processes

Phosphoric acid is used as a chemical reagent in various industrial processes such as metal treatment, water treatment, and semiconductor manufacturing.

Detergent and cleaning products

Phosphoric acid is used as an ingredient in various cleaning products such as tile and grout cleaners, rust removers, and toilet bowl cleaners.

Pharmaceuticals

Phosphoric acid is used as an excipient in the formulation of some pharmaceuticals to adjust the pH of the drug solution.

Flame retardants

Phosphoric acid is used as a flame retardant in the production of various materials such as plastics, textiles, and paper.

Other applications

Phosphoric acid is also used in the production of animal feed, as a corrosion inhibitor, and as a catalyst in various chemical reactions.

Overall, phosphoric acid is a versatile and widely used chemical with a diverse range of applications in various industries.

 

What types of phosphoric acid are there

There are several types of phosphoric acid, which differ in terms of their concentration and purity. The three most common types of phosphoric acid are:

Orthophosphoric acid (H3PO4)

This is the most common type of phosphoric acid and is also known as phosphoric(V) acid. It is a colorless, odorless liquid that is soluble in water and has a syrupy texture. Orthophosphoric acid is commonly used in the production of fertilizers, detergents, and food additives.

Pyrophosphoric acid (H4P2O7)

This acid is also known as diphosphoric acid and is formed by heating orthophosphoric acid. It is a colorless, crystalline solid that is soluble in water and has a sour taste. Pyrophosphoric acid is used in the production of ceramics, detergents, and water treatment chemicals.

Polyphosphoric acid (Hn+2PnO3n+1)

This is a group of acids that have varying numbers of phosphate units in their molecular structure. Polyphosphoric acid is typically produced by heating orthophosphoric acid with phosphoric anhydride. It is a viscous liquid that is used in the production of resins, polymers, and synthetic fibers.

In addition to these three types, other less common types of phosphoric acid include metaphosphoric acid, hypophosphoric acid, and phosphorous acid.

 

What drives the cost of Phosphoric acid

The cost of phosphoric acid is influenced by several factors, including:

Supply and demand

The demand for phosphoric acid is primarily driven by the demand for fertilizers, which in turn is influenced by population growth, changing diets, and government policies. The supply of phosphoric acid is largely dependent on the availability of phosphate rock reserves, which can be affected by geopolitical factors and changes in mining and extraction methods.

Production costs

The cost of producing phosphoric acid is influenced by factors such as the cost of raw materials, energy prices, and labor costs. The production process involves several steps, including mining and beneficiation of phosphate rock, production of phosphoric acid, and purification and packaging of the final product.

Transportation costs

Phosphoric acid is typically transported via sea routes, and the cost of transportation can be influenced by factors such as fuel prices, shipping rates, and geopolitical risks.

Regulations and environmental factors

The production and use of phosphoric acid are subject to regulations aimed at protecting the environment and human health. Compliance with these regulations can add to the cost of production and may also affect the availability of raw materials.

Overall, the cost of phosphoric acid can be highly volatile and can fluctuate based on a range of factors that affect both the supply and demand of the product.

 

Market information on phosphoric acid

According to a report by Research and Markets published in 2020, the global phosphoric acid market size was valued at $17.4 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $23.4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 3.8% from 2020 to 2027. The growth of the phosphoric acid market is driven by the increasing demand for fertilizers and the growing population, which has led to an increase in food demand. Other factors driving the market include the growing use of phosphoric acid in the food and beverage industry, the increasing use of phosphoric acid as a raw material in the production of detergents and cleaning products, and the rising demand for flame retardants. The Asia Pacific region is the largest market for phosphoric acid, followed by North America and Europe. The major players in the global phosphoric acid market include OCP Group, EuroChem Group AG, Yara International ASA, The Mosaic Company, PhosAgro, and Israel Chemicals Ltd.

According to https://oec.world/ :

Phosphoric acid and polyphosphoric acids are the world’s 745th most traded product.

In 2020, the top exporters of Phosphoric acid and polyphosphoric acids were Morocco ($1.25B), China ($390M), Jordan ($368M), Israel ($301M), and Senegal ($273M).

In 2020, the top importers of Phosphoric acid and polyphosphoric acids were India ($1.37B), Netherlands ($282M), Pakistan ($214M), United States ($193M), and Germany ($158M).

 

Which countries produce the most phosphoric acid

According to the US Geological Survey, the top five countries that produced the most phosphoric acid in 2020 were:

  1. China: 6.3 million metric tons
  2. Morocco: 5.5 million metric tons
  3. United States: 4.8 million metric tons
  4. Saudi Arabia: 4.5 million metric tons
  5. Russia: 2.5 million metric tons

Other countries that also produced significant amounts of phosphoric acid in 2020 include Tunisia, India, Brazil, Jordan, and Egypt. The production of phosphoric acid is primarily driven by the demand for fertilizer production, which is influenced by factors such as population growth, food demand, and government policies. The availability of phosphate rock reserves and technological advancements in the production process also play a significant role in determining the production of phosphoric acid.

 

Further information

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