Europe Oct chlorine output falls 3.5%, caustic soda stocks down 2.6%

10 November 2011 17:18  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Average European daily chlorine production in October fell by 3.5% from September 2011, while inventories of co-product caustic soda dropped by 2.6% in the same period, industry body Euro Chlor said on Thursday.

Daily production of chlorine for the region comprising the EU27, Norway and Switzerland, stood at 25,692 tonnes/day in October, down from 26,614 tonnes/day in September. Caustic soda stocks in October were at 242,103 tonnes, down from 248,558 tonnes in September.

Year-on-year figures show that chlorine production in October (796,446 tones) was 1.6% lower than in the same month last year, while capacity utilisation was 74.4%, down from 77.0% in the previous month of 2011.

Despite the decrease in caustic soda stocks over the last three months, year-on-year figures show that October stocks were 20,994 tonne above the exceptionally low October 2010 levels (221,109 tonnes).

The steady reduction in the output of feedstock chlorine since July 2011 reflects the continuous cutbacks in operating rates in the isocyanates and oxygenates markets and, especially, plummeting consumption levels in the PVC market, which is the key end use for chlorine.

The European PVC market consumes around 34% of the chlorine production, while another 30% goes to isocyanates and oxygenates production.

The reduction in chlorine production has also led to further tightness in the market of co-product caustic soda, where availability has shrank and spot prices soared to levels not seen since 2009.

The annual market trend points to further tightening as demand for PVC tends to slow in December and January, in line with a fall in activity in the downstream infrastructure and construction sectors.

Chlorine production & capacity utilisation

Month

Production (tonnes)

Capacity Utilisation (%)

 

2010

2011

% change

2010

2011

January

808,563

860,558

+6.4%

74.7%

80.4%

February

786,984

808,851

+2.8%

80.5%

83.6%

March

845,597

872,912

+3.2%

78.2%

81.5%

April

834,652

832,047

-0.3%

79.7%

80.3%

May

872,472

795,252

-8.9%

80.6%

74.3%

June

843,513

860,327

+2.0%

80.6%

83.0%

July

854,731

887,702

+3.9%

79.0%

82.9%

August

873,015

831,385

-4.8%

80.7%

77.6%

September

764,415

798,408

+4.4%

73.0%

77.0%

October

809,582

796,446

-1.6%

74.8%

74.4%

Caustic soda stocks (tonnes)

 

2010

2011

January

275,312

271,668

February

295,002

281,708

March

255,758

243,406

April

246,044

260,459

May

260,670

236,790

June

252,124

266,265

July

238,609

251,382

August

246,001

259,528

September

224,331

248,558

October

221,109

242,103

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Abache Abreu
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