US Sept chlor-alkali production down on soft vinyl demand

19 October 2009 21:48  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chlor-alkali production was 80% of capacity in September, down slightly from the 85% August rate, a US trade group said on Monday.

The production dip was caused by a planned maintenance at one supplier’s plant and soft demand from the vinyl sector, a source said.

US chlor-alkali output in September was 876,330 tons (795,007 tonnes) for chlorine and 936,390 tons for caustic soda, the Chlorine Institute said.  

Chlorine production is the typical driver for building a chlor-alkali plant, with caustic soda considered a co-product and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) the primary chlorine derivative, a major producer said.

PVC market participants recently hoped that high feedstock chlorine prices would edge back down in the fourth-quarter, since overall chlor-alkali production is anticipated to track toward traditional capacity utilisation rates of 90% and upward, sources said.

Third-quarter chlorine contract prices ranged $390-410/st (short ton and $354-372/tonne or €237-249/tonne), almost double the first quarter 2009 price, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

In other chlor-alkali products, caustic soda spot export prices were in the $135-155/dmt (dry metric ton) range, while pipe-grade PVC contracts were unchanged from September at 63-65 cents/lb, according to ICIS pricing.

US chlor-alkali producers include Dow Chemical, Occidental Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Shintech, Georgia Gulf, Bayer, Olin and PPG Industries.

US PVC producers include most of the chlor-alkali producers.

($1 = €0.67)

For more on caustic soda and chlorine visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Judith Taylor
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