FMC confirms $30/tonne increase for soda ash exports to S Africa

10 September 2013 20:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--FMC has added South Africa to the list of export markets where it is placing a $30/tonne (€23/tonne) price increase for Grade 260 dense soda ash and Grade 100 light soda ash, immediately or as contract terms permit, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

The move comes as US producers are signalling their intention to raise prices by $15/tonne for domestic customers and by $30/tonne for export through the American Natural Soda Ash Corporation (ANSAC), the international distribution arm of three major US producers.  

ANSAC governs US export pricing for FMC Wyoming, OCI Chemical and Tata Chemicals North America to all international markets except western Europe and South Africa.

ANSAC had handled exports to South Africa until it settled anti-competitive allegations in 2009. Each US producer now handles exports to the country individually.

South Africa gets about half of its 550,000 tonnes/year demand from neighbouring Botswana, where Botswana Ash has a plant with a nameplate capacity of 300,000 tonnes, said Bill Breunig, director of sales and marketing for FMC's alkali chemical division.

US producers export about 147,000 tonnes to South Africa annually, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

ANSAC announced a $30/tonne price increase for exports in April on all non-contract sales. Some of that increase was taken among Asian customers, ANSAC officials said.

In June, Tata Chemicals North America and FMC Wyoming followed suit, both announcing a $15/ton increase for off-list domestic sales. In July, OCI Chemical, which does not typically announce increases, sent customers notice of a $15/ton increase.

Solvay did not announce a price increase, but is notifying customers that it plans a $15/tonne domestic price increase, as well, market participants said.

The US industry is entering the annual negotiating season for the coming year’s contract. Prices negotiated by the end of November or early December will govern delivery prices in 2014.

The current ICIS-assessed price for US soda ash loaded at the Texas Gulf Coast is $180-200/tonne FOB (free on board).

Soda ash is primarily used in the production of glass containers and flat glass for residential and commercial buildings, as well as in pharmaceuticals, food preparation, water conditioning and other uses.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Bill Bowen
+1 713 525 2653

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