24 March 2013 23:21 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The chlorine season in North America will probably place a damper on price increase initiatives for caustic soda, industry participants said on Sunday.
Increasing demand of chlorine derivative polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for the construction peak season in the US will drive up chlor-alkali production rates and caustic soda supply, which in turn will weaken price hike proposals for the alkali, the sources said on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).
However, caustic soda availability in the Americas is gauged as snug at the moment, providing some immediate support for recent price increase announcements, the sources noted.
In recent weeks, several major producers made price initiatives ranging from $30-50/dry short ton (dst) (€25-42/dry metric tonne (dmt)), which would take effect on 1 March.
Not much caustic soda is available for export from Europe to the US east coast, but recent arrivals of Asian product to the west coast are very competitive, the sources said.
Also playing into the supply/demand balance, some alumina production plants will be shutting down this year. However, new facilities will also be starting up, the sources said.
Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC continues through Tuesday.
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