Iodine: Rising prices lead to higher revenues for SQM

Chilean chemical company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) has reported its H1 sales of iodine and derivatives to be 6.7kt with a revenue of US$186.1M. This represents a 16% increase in revenue over the same period in 2018, despite a slight 1.5% decline on the quantity of sales—a result of continuing price rises.

Iodine prices increased by 17% through the first seven months of 2019 to US$31/kg in July (for iodine crystal, 99.5% I2, as reported by Fastmarkets) and are expected to rise further throughout the remainder of the year. SQM is believed to have been supplying the market from stocks that may now be running down.

Iodine prices have risen with increasing tightness in the industry but little extra increase in supply. Industry estimates put total global demand growth at 2-3%py. SQM estimated global demand for iodine to be 37kt in 2018 but expects it to exceed 38kt in 2019. The major applications for iodine include use as an X-ray contrast media, biocides, pharmaceuticals and optical polarising film.

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