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Refrigerant prices have risen again in China. The price of R32 reached RMB 23,250 (about US$ 3,520) per ton in November, increasing cumulatively by 57.3% compared with early September. The price of R410A surpassed RMB 32,330 (about US$ 4,890) per ton, rising 29.3% compared with the lowest quotation of RMB 25,000 (about US$ 3,780) per ton in September. The prices of R125 and R134a also rose markedly. The price of R125 reached RMB 38,000 (about US$ 5,750) per ton and that of R134a was RMB 23,500 (about US$ 3,560) per ton.
In the first half of this year, refrigerant prices have seen soaring. After the temporary drop from July, they bounced back in mid-September. The refrigerant price rises are due to the price rise of hydrofluoric acid upstream. China is strengthening environmental protection measures, and many ineligible production bases of hydrofluoric acid have been closed, leading to a supply shortage and price rises.
Refrigerant price rises were also driven by expanding demand in the downstream market. According to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the production volume of room air conditioners (RACs) increased by 18.7% during the period spanning January to August 2017. Rapid growth in the RAC market has triggered refrigerant price rises.
In accordance with the F-gas regulations, the quantity of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that can be placed on the EU market is being reduced in a series of steps. By 2030, only 20% of the quantity of HFCs that were sold in 2015 will be available. The first big cut in HFC use will come in 2018 when there will be a cut of around 40%.
Looking ahead to this phase-down, several refrigerant manufacturers plan to reduce or stop sales of high -global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. In April 2017, Cooling Post reported that Honeywell intends to stop selling the high-GWP refrigerants R404A and R507 in Europe from next year. Another leading refrigerant supplier Chemours announced price rises in the EU market from March 2017: a 30% rise for R404A and R507A, as well as a 10% rise for R407A, R410A, R407C, and R134a. Mexichem also announced in 2016 a price increase of 20% for R404A and R507, a 15% increase for R134a, R410A, and R407C, and a 10% increase for R407A.
In addition to these leading players, local refrigerant suppliers have also announced price rises. For example, a UK supplier announced refrigerant price rises in two consecutive months, in November and December 2017.
In the face of these price rises, European air conditioning and refrigeration industry associations are taking actions such as appealing governments and conducting price research. However, European governments, such as the Danish, French, Norwegian, Polish, Slovakian, and Spanish governments, are applying taxes on HFC refrigerants, and these taxes have become a factor resulting in refrigerant price rises.
Further refrigerant price rises are anticipated due to a significant supply shortage.