US caustic producer announces $50/dst price increase

22 April 2011 00:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A major US caustic producer has announced a $50/dry short ton (dst) (€35/dst) increase on tight supply and strong demand, market sources said on Thursday.

This is the third price hike sought by the producer this year.

US caustic buyers are resistant to any increases, although several market participants said an initial $40/dst sought by producers earlier this year appeared successful.

Another round of increases between $50-60/dst are still under discussion by market participants.

Caustic sellers and buyers remain at odds on supply, especially in light of a series of production problems reported by two US producers in the last few weeks.

US producer Georgia Gulf announced it has reduced its chlor-alkali operating rates at its Plaquemine, Louisiana, plant by 33% after declaring force majeure (FM) on its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production on 14 April.

Days later on 19 April, PPG Industries announced an FM on all grades of caustic soda after mechanical problems were reported at its Natrium, West Virginia, facility. During a conference call on Thursday, company sources said the FM would likely last “days, not weeks”.

However, no issues were apparent in sourcing material, according to one caustic buyer.

March contracts are currently assessed at $370-410/dst FOB (free on board) US Gulf.

US caustic soda producers include OxyChem, Formosa Plastics, Georgia Gulf, Shintech and Dow Chemical.

($1 = €0.69)

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
For more on caustic soda visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Ruth Liao
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