April 24, 2013
Iodine prices experienced a strong increase throughout 2011 reaching a peak of
/kg in June on the spot market. This increase was triggered by the
Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in
, and exacerbated by a supply shortage in
. These reductions in supply combined with strong growth in consumption from applications such as X-ray contrast media, biocides and OPF, led to a surge in prices.
At the beginning of 2012, iodine prices softened to an average of
/kg in the first quarter although supplies remained tight. The fall followed a slight rise in supply as shipments from ACF Minera's Algorta Norte project started and output from Japanese producers recovered to normal rates. Prices subsequently strengthened in Q2 and Q3.
As with all commodities, the price of iodine is determined by the balance between supply and demand. In 2012, crude iodine production was around 28,700t including an estimated 5,000t of secondary material. In 2013, production is expected to increase by around 8% if targets from Chilean producers are reached. The actual increase may only be around 5-6%. Global demand is expected to rise by 3.5%py to 2017, from 30,600t in 2012.
In the first quarter of 2013, prices continued to soften, dropping to around 11.5% below Q1 2012 levels. This may have resulted from production rising at a higher rate than consumption. If production targets are reached, and demand rises as forecast, prices may decrease further through 2013 and by Q1 2014, contract price may be 10% below Q1 2013 levels. Prices are then forecast to rise progressively at low rate to 2017.
Rise in consumption and future demand driven by X-ray contrast media, biocides and OPF production