Dec US chlor-alkali production rates drop

20 January 2010 22:15  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chlor-alkali production was at 76% of capacity in December, down from 82% in November, a trade group said on Wednesday.

December chlor-alkali output was 856,065 tons (776,662 tonnes) of chlorine and 885,484 tons of caustic soda, The Chlorine Institute said.

The drop was attributed to producers seeking to achieve improved balance between chlorine and caustic output in order to minimise volatility that dominated the second half of 2009, market sources said.

Chlorine prices jumped from a $165-185/ton (€127-143/tonne) range in June 2009 to $390-410/ton in July, maintaining this benchmark level throughout the second-half  2009 and into the first quarter 2010, according to global chemical intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Chlorine production is the driver for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the primary chlorine derivative. US PVC producers announced 5 cent/lb increase initiatives for 1 January. Most suppliers have also followed the January move with a 5 cent/lb increase effective on 1 February, both based in part on the higher chlorine cost.

Caustic soda contract prices continued to range $160-240/dst (dry short ton) in December, but was pressured up in January due to suppliers seeking a $75/ton 1 January increase.

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

US PVC producers include most chlor-alkali producers.


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