Several signs show upward trend for soda ash demand, prices – CEO

01 May 2013 22:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Several signs indicate that soda ash demand and export prices are beginning an upward trend, the CEO of specialty chemical producer FMC Corporation said on Wednesday.

Indicators show that export prices bottomed in March and that Chinese producers are going with monthly contracts and not three-month contracts for soda ash, FMC CEO Pierre Brondeau said in a conference call about the soda ash-maker’s Q1 2013 earnings.

Brondeau also referred to last week’s decision by the American Natural Soda Ash Association (ANSAC) to increase prices on soda ash sales by $30/tonne (€23/tonne).

Producers are starting to rationalise production and a few companies have announced shutdowns, which will tighten supply into Asia, he said.

The last indicator is that the automotive and flat glass industries – two key users of soda ash – are showing strength, Brondeau said.

That strength will offset the fact that China’s GDP growth “is not as robust as we were expecting”, he said.

“So, when we bring all of that, we do have the belief that there is no reason for us not to see prices starting to rise in the end of the second quarter, showing impact in the third and fourth quarter,” he said.

Soda ash is primarily used in glassmaking, the manufacture of other inorganic chemicals, detergents, flue gas desulphurisation, water treatment and the manufacture of pulp and paper.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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