Kenya caustic soda demand dips due to election uncertainty

07 March 2013 12:27  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Kenyan caustic soda consumption has fallen because of uncertainties surrounding the local general and presidential elections, sources said on Thursday.

"Our plant has been shut for the past five days and could be shut until Monday. We don't want workers to come in and perhaps be caught up in violence in the streets," a soaps and detergents producer said.

Demand has been subdued since the beginning of February, mainly because buyers in eastern Africa reduced purchases as a result of uncertainty preceding the elections.

After the last elections in 2007 widespread violence ensued between party followers that resulted in thousands of deaths. So far there has been no violence in Kenya, but most people are worried and the plant shutdowns have been taken as precautionary measures, the soap producer said.

An oil refiner said: "Currently counting is going on and hopefully tomorrow results will be declared [bringing clarity]."

According to ICIS, solid caustic soda prices in Kenya are at $580-610/tonne (€446-470/tonne) cost and freight (CFR) Kenya, while liquid caustic soda is around $600-610/dmt CFR Kenya.

($1 = €0.77)

Follow Janos Gal on Twitter @janosgalICIS

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