Salt: Mild first half winter in Northern Hemisphere leads to lower de-icing salt sales

De-icing salt

The first half of the 2020/2021 winter in North America has been milder than that of the previous year, leading to lower salt sales. Compass Minerals sold just under 2Mt of highway de-icing salt products during 4Q 2020 compared to 2.63Mt in Q4 2019. This includes all highway maintenance products sold in the USA, Canada and the UK, as well as rock salt sales to the chemical industry. Total Q4 2020 salt sales by the company were down almost a quarter at about 2.54Mt, from 3.27Mt in 4Q 2019.

K+S also expects its sales of de-icing salt to be lower in 2020 than 2019. The company normally sells 12.5-13Mtpy of de-icing salt through its Communities business in North America and Europe but expects to only sell 8Mt in 2020.

Roskill View

The first half of the 2020/2021 winter has been milder than that of the previous year in both North America and Europe. This has meant that inventories of de-icing salt have remained high and sales lower. The second half of the winter could be more severe, especially if the polar vortex in the Arctic fractures in a repeat of 2014 causing a sharp drop in temperatures. Weather forecasts for Q1 2021 predict that a combination of lower than average temperatures and higher precipitation in both North America and Europe may take place.

Roskill’s NEW Salt: Outlook to 2030, 19th Edition report was published in November 2020 and includes analysis of industry trends in supply, demand, trade and prices, as well as providing forecasts to 2030, profiles of the main producers, a section on production costs and a section on the sustainability of the salt supply chain via consideration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages for the report, or to access further information.

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This article was written by David McNeill. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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