Tag Archives | caustic soda

US PVC exports tumble as demand weakens in key markets

The US PVC industry is hitting new problems, to add to the post-2006 collapse of the US housing market. Yet only 10 years ago, it was riding high.  Demand into housing (the main outlet) was at record levels thanks to subprime lending, and PVC production had just hit a record 7.3 million tonnes. Even after the financial Crisis, global […]

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European chloralkali output hit as growth slows, Ukraine volumes drop

Chlorine and caustic soda are the bedrock of modern industry.  They are used in everything from laundry products to pharmaceuticals.  So changes in their business performance are a most valuable guide to what is happening in the real world in which we all live. The chart shows the detail of developments in the European industry, […]

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US caustic soda exports weaken on China slowdown

What a difference 2 years can make.  That’s the obvious conclusion from comparing US exports of caustic soda today, with those seen in the years to 2012.  As the chart, based on Global Trade Information Services data shows: Net US exports fell 4% in Q1 (red column) versus 2012 (blue), and were 19% below 2013 levels Detailed […]

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Caustic soda inventories rise as aluminium cutbacks begin

An accident waiting to happen is perhaps the best way to describe aluminium markets – the key swing outlet for caustic soda.  Caustic soda is normally a late cycle product, with sales then focused on the mining industry.  Industry leader Alcoa’s results confirm the disappointing trend.  It lost money in Q1, whilst revenue fell 8% due to a decline […]

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Aluminium shortage “temporary and artificial” says world’s largest buyer

When was the last time you told your customers that they would have to wait 570 days for delivery of material for which they have already paid? You’ve never done this?  Well, you need to take lessons from those super-smart people who own the aluminium warehouses, such as Goldman Sachs (pictured above by Reuters).  As the blog […]

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Aluminium stocks enough to build nearly 2 years’ supply of cars

We all know that strange things have been happening in global commodity markets in the past 5 years.  Central banks have been pumping out free cash, which has been used to fund speculative trading by many of the major investment banks.  In turn this has taken many prices to new records.  And this was all happening when […]

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EU, US caustic soda output slows as China’s exports rise

Chlorine and caustic soda are some of the most widely used chemicals.  Thus their performance is always a valuable leading indicator for the wider chemical industry and the economy itself.  So the chart above, based on Eurochlor data,  is a worrying sign: Chlorine production is down by 1.9% in 2013, after a 2.9% fall in 2012 Caustic […]

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Chloralkali output suggests EU and US recoveries still to appear

Chlorine and caustic soda markets rarely lie about the underlying state of demand.  The reason is not just because they have been widely used for over 125 years.  But the production process is also relatively flexible, and can be adjusted within minutes to align with supply/demand changes. So the picture in the chart above of falling chlorine production […]

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EU chloralkali output slows as markets weaken

Chloralkali production is an excellent indicator of market direction in the short-term. Unlike petrochemicals, cellrooms can quickly reduce or increase operating rates. This is essential for efficient operation, as the price for electricity can change every 30 minutes. Thus as the above chart of European chlorine production shows (based on Eurochlor data), demand seems to […]

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EU faces US competition in PVC export markets

The blog continues this week’s special series on chloralkali and PVC markets by looking at EU developments on PVC. Historically the EU has had strong export positions into markets such as Turkey and Russia, which lack major local production. More recently, as in the USA, strong export demand for caustic soda and weak domestic demand […]

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