Sulfuric Acid Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The Sulfuric Acid Market is segmented by Raw Material Type (Elemental Sulfur, Pyrite Ore, and Other Raw Material Types), End-user Industry (Fertilizer, Chemical and Pharmaceutical, Automotive, Petroleum Refining, and Other End-user Industries), and Geography (Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, South America, and Middle-East and Africa). The report offers market size and forecasts for the market studied in volume (million tons) for all the above segments.

Market Snapshot

Sulfuric Acid Market - Market Summary
Study Period: 2017-2027
Base Year: 2021
Fastest Growing Market: Asia-Pacific
Largest Market: Asia-Pacific
CAGR: >3.5 %

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Market Overview

The global sulfuric acid market was valued at 287.68 million tons in 2021 and the market is likely to grow with a CAGR of over 3.5%, during the forecast period.

The COVID-19 pandemic has moderately affected the sulfuric acid market in 2020. The imposition of lockdowns across various countries and disruptions in supply has affected the chemical sector. However, since sulfuric acid is among the primary chemicals used in the chemical sector, high demand is anticipated in the forecast period (2022 - 2027).

  • Over the short term, factors driving the market studied include the high demand for sulfuric acid in phosphate-based fertilizers, along with growing consumption from chemical and pharmaceutical industries across the globe.
  • On the flip side, volatility in raw material prices is expected to hinder the growth of the sulfuric acid market in the near future.
  • The Asia-Pacific region dominated the sulfuric acid market across the globe, with the highest consumption from countries such as China, India, and Japan.

Scope of the Report

Sulfuric acid, also called oil of vitriol or hydrogen sulfate, is a dense, colorless, oily, and corrosive liquid. It is used in various concentrations during the manufacturing of different fertilizers, drugs, and chemicals. The sulfuric acid market is segmented by raw material type, end-user industry, and geography. By raw material type, the market is segmented into elemental sulfur, pyrite ore, and other raw material types. By end-user industry, the market is segmented into fertilizer, chemical and pharmaceutical, automotive, petroleum refining, and other end-user industries. The report also covers the market size and forecasts for the sulfuric acid market in 15 countries across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done on the basis of volume (million tons).

Raw Material Type
Elemental Sulfur
Pyrite Ore
Other Raw Material Types
End-user Industry
Fertilizer
Chemical and Pharmaceutical
Automotive
Petroleum Refining
Other End-user Industries (Pulp and Paper, Metal Processing)
Geography
Asia-Pacific
China
India
Japan
South Korea
Rest of Asia-Pacific
North America
United States
Canada
Mexico
Europe
Germany
United Kingdom
France
Italy
Rest of Europe
South America
Brazil
Argentina
Rest of South America
Middle-East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Rest of Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Growing Consumption from Fertilizer Segment

  • Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid made up of sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen. It has a strong smell and is an extremely corrosive, oily, and clear liquid. It should always be handled with caution, even in its dilute form. When diluted with water, it releases heat in a ceramic exhaust reaction. It is an important industrial chemical that is used in the manufacturing processes of fertilizers.
  • Around half of the global sulfuric acid is used in agriculture and farming, especially in fertilizer. Sulfuric acid is used to manufacture phosphate fertilizers, such as the superphosphate of lime and ammonium sulfate. Sulfuric acid increases crop yield, which helps farmers to generate more revenue by producing highly nutritional crops.
  • Sulfuric acid is used as a raw material in the production of mono ammonium phosphate (MAP) and diammonium phosphate (DAP), which is mixed with phosphate rock to produce phosphoric acid. Around the world, farmers use fertilizers with three primary nutrients to improve the quality and yield of the crops: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some fertilizers, such as two-component fertilizers MAP and DAP, offer farmers an effective means of delivering nitrogen and phosphorus to soils.
  • Fertilizers replace the nutrients that crops remove from the soil. Without fertilizers, crop yields and agricultural productivity would be significantly reduced. Owing to this, mineral fertilizers are used to supplement the soil's nutrient stocks with minerals that can be quickly absorbed and used by crops.
  • Agriculture is the major source of livelihood across the globe; India and the United States are witnessing positive growth in agriculture. Hence, the demand for fertilizers is expected to drive the market during the forecast period.
  • For instance, according to Food and Agriculture Organization, the world capacity for producing ammonia, phosphoric acid, and potash in 2021 was 315,973 thousand tons, which is expected to reach 318,652 thousand tons in 2022, thereby boosting the market demand for sulfuric acid in the forecast period.
  • Furthermore, in India, the agriculture sector is the livelihood of approximately 58% of the population. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the gross value added by agriculture is estimated to be USD 276.37 billion in 2020. Furthermore, the total agricultural and allied products exports stood at USD 41.25 billion in 2021. The growing investments in irrigation enhanced the gross irrigated area, creating a demand for fertilizers and stimulating the demand for the sulfuric acid market.
  • According to the US Census Bureau, the current population of the United States is expected to increase by 0.7-0.9%, driven by a high level of immigration. With the increasing per capita income and growing population, the demand for food and cash crops is also estimated to increase. For instance, as per the FAO, food demand in the United States is expected to increase by 50-90% by 2050.​
  • The agriculture sector in Latin America and the Caribbean witnessed significant growth in the recent past. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agricultural and fisheries production is expected to grow by 17% during 2018-2028. Around 53% of this growth is expected to come from increased crop production. Hence, the growing agricultural industry boosted the demand for fertilizers. This is expected to impact the growth of the sulfuric acid market.
  • Thus, the growing use of sulfuric acid in fertilizers is expected to drive the market during the forecast period.
Sulfuric Acid  Market - Segmentation

Asia-Pacific Region to Dominate the Market

  • The Asia-Pacific region is expected to dominate the sulfuric acid market during the forecast period. Due to the high demand from the chemical, fertilizer, and other manufacturing sectors in countries like China, India, and Japan, the sulfuric acid market has been rapidly increasing.
  • In 2021, the sulfuric acid production in China was 93.83 million metric tons, compared to 92.38 million metric tons in 2020, registering a growth of over 1.5%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China. The sulfuric acid production output continued to rise in China, with a manufacturing capacity of 129 million tons in 2022, registering a growth of 1.59% from the same period in the previous year. The distribution of sulfuric acid manufacturing capacity in China is uneven. It is largely concentrated in Southwest China, East China, and Central China. These regions account for over 70% of national production capacity.
  • In China, companies are planning to increase the manufacturing capacity of sulfuric acid to 21.08 million tons annually. After the capacity increase in 2022-2024, the supply pattern of the sulfuric acid market is expected to undergo significant changes in the country, including increasing exports, shrinking imports, and changes in goods flow.
  • China is the largest fertilizer manufacturer in the world. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizer production volume in China accounted for 55.44 million tons in 2021, compared to 54.96 million tons in 2020, registering a growth of 0.87%.
  • In the World Pharma Stage, the pharmaceuticals market of China is the second largest after the United States due to high domestic demand from hospitals and the large production base of APIs in the country. In 2021, the Chinese API market had over 7,000 API manufacturers, which increased by five times in the last five years, with a production capacity exceeding 2 million tons per year. This is expected to drive the sulfuric acid market.
  • Sulfuric acid is widely used in large power batteries in automotive industries. The sulfuric acid serves as an electrolyte in batteries and generates required electrons when it interacts with lead to produce voltage. A growth of 106% in battery-plugged-in electric vehicle sales was witnessed in November 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. The country’s sales of electric vehicles reached around 413,094 units in November 2021. In addition, the market share also increased to 19%, including 15% of all-electric and 4% of plug-in hybrid cars.
  • In India, in July 2021, the Chief Minister of Odisha laid the foundation stone for a sulfuric acid manufacturing facility on the premises of the fertilizer cooperative IFFCO at its Paradip division. The project will cost around INR 400 crore, with operations estimated to start by 2023. This new production plant will reduce dependency on the import of chemicals. This is IFFCO’s third sulfuric acid manufacturing plant, with a capacity of about 2,000 metric tons (MT) per day.
  • Furthermore, India is one of the economies largely dependent on agriculture. Agriculture is still the primary source of livelihood for more than 55% of the population. According to The Economic Survey of India 2020-21 report, in FY20, the total food grain production in the country was recorded at 296.65 million tons, which increased by 11.44 million tons compared with 285.21 million tons in FY19.
  • According to the Government of India, the Indian pharma industry market size is expected to reach USD 130 billion by 2030. Furthermore, India has provided pharmaceutical products to more than 200 countries and may continue to do so in the future. Also, India is the largest provider of generic drugs, which satisfies 40% of the generic drug demand in the United States and 30% of the United Kingdom. The domestic drug manufacturers consist of a chain of around 10,500 companies.
  • All the aforementioned factors are expected to boost the demand for sulfuric acid in the Asia Pacific region over the forecast period.
Sulfuric Acid Market - Regional Trend

Competitive Landscape

The global sulfuric acid market is highly fragmented, where the top five players hold approximately 8% of the market demand, which include Mosaic, PhosAgro Group of Companies, Jiangxi Copper Group Co. Ltd, Yunnan Copper Co. Ltd, and Aurubis AG.

Recent Developments

  • In May 2022, WeylChem International GmbH completed the acquisition and integration of INEOS Sulfur Chemicals Spain SLU, the leading Spanish sulfur chemicals arm of INEOS enterprises. The acquired business comprises a state-of-the-art facility of 350,000 ton annual capacity for producing sulfuric acid in Bilbao. The newly integrated sulfur business now operates under the name “WeylChem Bilbao”.
  • In July 2021, Boliden group laid out the expansion plan of its Odda zinc smelter in western Norway for an investment of EUR 700 million. The Odda facility, which is intended to boast 350,000 tons/year capacity, following the planned capacity build-up by 75%, will include a new roaster, a new sulfuric acid plant, and a new cell house. The already existing leaching and purification plant, as well as the foundry and quay infrastructure, are also to be expanded and modernized. The expansion is set to be completed in 2024.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION

    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study

  2. 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  4. 4. MARKET DYNAMICS

    1. 4.1 Drivers

      1. 4.1.1 High Demand For Sulfuric Acid In Phosphate-based Fertilizers

      2. 4.1.2 Growing Demand From Chemical And Pharmaceutical Industries

    2. 4.2 Restraints

      1. 4.2.1 Volatility In Raw Material Pricing

    3. 4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Degree of Competition

    5. 4.5 Trade Analysis

    6. 4.6 Feedstock Analysis

    7. 4.7 Regional Production Capacities

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION

    1. 5.1 Raw Material Type

      1. 5.1.1 Elemental Sulfur

      2. 5.1.2 Pyrite Ore

      3. 5.1.3 Other Raw Material Types

    2. 5.2 End-user Industry

      1. 5.2.1 Fertilizer

      2. 5.2.2 Chemical and Pharmaceutical

      3. 5.2.3 Automotive

      4. 5.2.4 Petroleum Refining

      5. 5.2.5 Other End-user Industries (Pulp and Paper, Metal Processing)

    3. 5.3 Geography

      1. 5.3.1 Asia-Pacific

        1. 5.3.1.1 China

        2. 5.3.1.2 India

        3. 5.3.1.3 Japan

        4. 5.3.1.4 South Korea

        5. 5.3.1.5 Rest of Asia-Pacific

      2. 5.3.2 North America

        1. 5.3.2.1 United States

        2. 5.3.2.2 Canada

        3. 5.3.2.3 Mexico

      3. 5.3.3 Europe

        1. 5.3.3.1 Germany

        2. 5.3.3.2 United Kingdom

        3. 5.3.3.3 France

        4. 5.3.3.4 Italy

        5. 5.3.3.5 Rest of Europe

      4. 5.3.4 South America

        1. 5.3.4.1 Brazil

        2. 5.3.4.2 Argentina

        3. 5.3.4.3 Rest of South America

      5. 5.3.5 Middle-East and Africa

        1. 5.3.5.1 Saudi Arabia

        2. 5.3.5.2 South Africa

        3. 5.3.5.3 Rest of Middle-East and Africa

  6. 6. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

    1. 6.1 Mergers, Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements

    2. 6.2 Market Share (%)**/Ranking Analysis

    3. 6.3 Strategies Adopted by Leading Players

    4. 6.4 Company Profiles

      1. 6.4.1 Aarti Industries Limited

      2. 6.4.2 Aurubis AG

      3. 6.4.3 Bodal Chemicals Ltd

      4. 6.4.4 Boliden Group

      5. 6.4.5 Hindustan Zinc

      6. 6.4.6 Jiangxi Copper Group Co. Ltd

      7. 6.4.7 KANTO KAGAKU

      8. 6.4.8 Nouryon

      9. 6.4.9 Panoli Intermediates India Private Limited

      10. 6.4.10 PhosAgro Group of Companies

      11. 6.4.11 PVS

      12. 6.4.12 Mosaic

      13. 6.4.13 WeylChem International GmbH

      14. 6.4.14 Yunnan Copper Co. Ltd

    5. *List Not Exhaustive
  7. 7. MARKET OPPORTUNITIES AND FUTURE TRENDS

    1. 7.1 Growing Use of Oleum in Medical and Other Industries

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Sulfuric Acid Market market is studied from 2017 - 2027.

The Sulfuric Acid Market is growing at a CAGR of >3.5% over the next 5 years.

Asia-Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

Asia-Pacific holds highest share in 2021.

Mosaic, PhosAgro Group of Companies, Aurubis AG, Yunnan Copper Co., Ltd., Jiangxi Copper Group Co. Ltd. are the major companies operating in Sulfuric Acid Market.

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