25 February 2011 22:45 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US chlor-alkali producers were running at 92% of capacity in January, up by 7 percentage points from December, a US trade group said on Friday.
January chlor-alkali output was 1,049,138 tons (951,778 tonnes) of chlorine and 1,105,386 tons of caustic soda, The Chlorine Institute said.
December’s operating rate was 85%.
Operating rates remained relatively unchanged during the 2010 fourth quarter, with October at 82%, November at 85% and December at 85%.
Market sources said current US caustic soda supply was more balanced compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, as no major production disruptions have been reported.
One source said the boost in January’s production rates reflected strong export markets and recovery in the domestic caustic sectors.
Market players said caustic export prices were stable this week, with supply described as balanced to tight.
For the US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market, export prices were assessed at $940-960/tonne FOB (free on board) US Gulf. Sources said PVC exports were firming given the volatility in feedstock ethylene, and seasonal domestic demand was showing signs of recovery.
US chlor-alkali producers include Dow Chemical, Occidental Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Shintech, Georgia Gulf, Bayer, Olin and PPG Industries.
($1 = €0.72)
Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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