Egyptian Petrochemicals Company shuts Alexandria caustic soda

09 December 2010 11:44  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Egyptian Petrochemicals Company has halted production at its caustic soda plant in Alexandria, Egypt, because of technical problems, a company source said on Thursday.

The unplanned outage began on Monday 29 November and production was expected to resume on Friday, with normal operating rates restored by the end of the weekend.

Nameplate capacity of the plant is 400 tonnes/day of caustic soda.

Egypt is predominantly an export market, selling the majority of its volumes into the Mediterranean. Egyptian Petrochemicals Company is not currently exporting material because of the outage, the source added.

Northern African caustic soda demand has been high since the beginning of the fourth quarter because of supply shortages in Europe, resulting from several recent and ongoing forces majeures (FMs).

Domestic demand was also high because hot temperatures in the region were driving demand in the major downstream soaps and detergents market, according to sources.

50% liquid spot prices were assessed by ICIS at $420-500/tonne (€315-375/tonne) FOB (free on board) North Africa. Prices have been consistently rising since the beginning of production problems in Europe at the start of the fourth quarter.

As of 1 October, northern African liquid spot prices were $300-370/tonne FOB North Africa, representing a rise of $120-130/tonne in the last two months.

The top end of the range was representative of material exported from Morocco into Spain. Limited availability in the Spanish market resulting from local production problems was allowing northern African exporters to achieve high prices and remain competitive, sources said.

Prices at the bottom end of the range were representative of exports from Egypt, which does not typically serve the Spanish market. Nevertheless, Egyptian producers were expecting prices to increase to $450/tonne FOB Egypt during December because of strong buying interest.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on caustic soda visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Mark Victory
+44 208 652 3214

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