EPCA '12: South Africa strikes continue to disrupt caustic soda

08 October 2012 12:01  [Source: ICIS news]

BUDAPEST (ICIS)--Caustic soda supply continues to be disrupted by road strikes in South Africa, a source said on Monday.

"The platinum mine strikes started a wave of strikes, now everyone wants pay increases," the source said on the sidelines of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

As a result of the strikes, credit ratings agencyMoody's downgraded South Africa's credit ratings from A3 to Baa1.

"The revision reflects Moody's view of the South African authorities' reduced capacity to handle the current political and economic situation and to implement effective strategies that could place the economy on a path to faster and more inclusive growth" Moody's said in a statement.

Last week, one caustic soda producer said it had to halt production for one day because a massive backlog that could not be delivered to its customers meant it ran out of storage space.

An estimated 100,000 transport workers are on strike. Workers want pay increases and when negotiations broke down they went out on strike two weeks ago, blocking roads and disrupting the transportation of goods.

The strikes are now also expected to spread to port and railways workers, which can paralyse imports and exports.

One trader said all the strikes in South Africa in recent months had become very frustrating and are bad for business. There is now a fear that petrol stations will run out of petrol, causing further disruption in the country.

The annual EPCA meeting runs from 6-10 October.

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By: Janos Gal
+44 208 652 3214

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